With Midterm Elections Just 6 Weeks Away, Cities Work to Ensure All Voices are Heard
Washington, DC— Today, to mark National Voter Registration Day, mayors across the country are lending their support to promote voter registration opportunities for residents in their cities in advance of the November elections. Mayors have committed to hosting events, making voter registration forms readily accessible, visiting schools, participating in get-out-the-vote campaigns, launching social media campaigns, and issuing city-wide proclamations as part of their effort to ensure that the right to vote is available to all eligible voters.
In advance of the midterm elections, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) also has been working with March For Our Lives on their efforts to encourage young people to register to vote. The joint effort, Mayors For Our Lives, has galvanized more than 200 mayors—Democrat, Republican and Independent—and aims to reach millions of students to help them make a difference in addressing the nation’s most critical challenges.
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors is proud to be a part of National Voter Registration Day. The best way for Americans to be a part of our Democratic process is to go to the ballot box and make their voices heard,” said USCM President, Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin. “We are pleased with the extraordinary work being done by mayors across the country as we actively engage residents of all ages and help them register to vote.”
“The health of representative democracy in America has always depended on participation,” said Gresham (OR) Mayor Shane Bemis, who serves as Chair of USCM’s Youth Involvement Task Force. “The more people we can bring into self-governance, the better we will be as a republic. Let’s empower our youth to let their voices be heard.”
Examples of what mayors are doing include:
Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles (CA)
Mayor Garcetti was the first Mayor in the country to commit to having voter registration activities in every high school in the city. In order to facilitate this, and in advance of National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), last week, Mayor Garcetti hosted a citywide live webinar for LAUSD high school students and staff who are leading voter registration drives on their campuses, along with LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, and LA City Clerk, Holly Wolcott. His office has also made a Student Took Kit available online for students who would like to host a drive on campus. Mayor Garcetti’s office also worked with the LA City Clerk and the LAUSD School district to ensure all public high schools in Los Angeles have voter registration forms on campus. Mayor Garcetti met with students from the Los Angeles Community College District yesterday to hear why voting is important to them, and will register some of these students to vote for the first time.
Mayor Shane Bemis, Gresham (OR)
Mayor Bemis has engaged Gresham’s Youth Advisory Council, comprised of representatives from each high school in the city, and provided them with information so that they can encourage their peers to register to vote, and has asked all area high schools to distribute information regarding voter registration. Additionally, Mayor Bemis is issuing a proclamation, a media release, and working with Mt. Hood Community College and their student government association to convey the importance of voting, and is promoting the topic on social media.
Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City (UT)
Members of the Mayor’s staff will be hosting lunch-time voter registration drives at East, West and Highland High Schools. Additionally, Comunidades Unisas will also be hosting a voter registration event at the Glendale Library in Salt Lake City, and the Associated Students of the University of Utah will be hosting an event at Tanner Plaza.
Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond (VA)
Mayor Stoney will kick off this year’s “Mayor’s Award for Voter Registration” challenge at Huguenot High School on September 25 to see which high school can register the most students. He will also declare September 25 as “National Voter Registration Day RVA” through a formal city proclamation. The Mayor has also submitted an ordinance to the City Council to fund free bus rides to the polls on Election Day.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg, South Bend (IN)
Today, Mayor Buttigieg will go to Riley High School to speak with a group of government students about the importance of registering and voting as soon as one is eligible. Schools around South Bend are providing eligible seniors with opportunities to register in the lead up to Election Day. Later in the evening, the Mayor will speak at the South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center to a group organized by the League of Women Voters and Notre Dame students.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, DC
As part of the District’s collaboration with Cap, Gown, Vote! there will be a voter registration drive today at Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School to register eligible high school students to vote. The League of Women Voters’ of the District of Columbia will be at the drive to register students. Additionally, as part of the District’s collaboration with Mayors for Our Lives, it will host a voter registration event and drive this afternoon at Ballou High School. During the event, Mayor Bowser’s Director of the Office of African American Affairs, Director Rahman Branch, will present a proclamation from the Mayor to Ballou principal, Willie Jackson. The proclamation declares September 25, 2018, “D.C. Voter Registration Day.”
Mayor Andy Berke, Chattanooga (TN)
The City of Chattanooga will launch a new initiative to provide registration reminders and assistance as well as information about how to vote early, by absentee ballot or on Election Day. Additionally, the city is partnering with local universities and civic organizations to host #VoteTogether parties during early voting and on Election Day to increase civic celebration and turnout.
Mayor Oliver Gilbert III, Miami Gardens (FL)
The City of Miami Gardens will distribute information about voting through its community e-blasts, social media platforms as well as on the digital billboards located throughout the city. The Mayor will also use his video blog to encourage individuals to register and vote. They City will also provide on-site registration opportunities at the City of Miami Gardens football games.