DemocracyNYC: Mayor de Blasio Partners with "Mayors for Our Lives" for Student Voter Registration Effort on National Voter Registration Day

September 25, 2018

Collaborative outreach effort with Mayors For Our Lives and launch of new City website will make it easier for youth to stay informed about the latest opportunities to get civically engaged: nyc.gov/studentvoice

NEW YORK––To mark National Voter Registration Day, Mayor Bill de Blasio teamed up with Mayors For Our Lives to register students to vote in schools across New York City. This is a continuation of an effort that began last spring which successfully registered more than 10,000 first-time student voters in New York City. Mayors For Our Lives is a national movement led by March For Our Lives that aims to register high school and college students to vote and increase civic engagement. Mayor de Blasio is a leading voice in this effort, helping to mobilize a bi-partisan group of 200 mayors from across the nation who are also participating in this effort.

The Administration also launched a new website where students can sign up to be a #DemocracyNYC leader to help register fellow students to vote and promote civic engagement in their schools. Students interested in participating in these efforts can find more information at nyc.gov/studentvoice.

“Our students are the future leaders of our country, and their voices matter as much today as they will years from now,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “They should know that their vote and civic participation at all levels of government is crucial in our effort to strengthen our democracy. Our non-partisan outreach with Mayors For Our Lives will remind them of this and mobilize countless young people to have their voices heard.”

“Our job as educators is to create active, engaged citizens who are going to change the world. By bringing voter registration into our schools and combining it with the work our teachers are doing every day, we’re making it easier for our students to have a say in the future of this City and this country. I’m proud to stand with Mayor de Blasio to support a new generation of leaders, activists, and citizens,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.

“Today’s leaders have a responsibility to make civic participation as easy and equitable as possible for every New Yorker. I am excited that we are taking the lead to proactively help New York City’s youth learn about the importance of playing a direct role in our community and democracy. We will continue using the tools at our disposal to increase participation in elections while advocating for the State to modernize archaic laws that create unnecessary barriers to voting,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson.

“It is the responsibility of all Americans, young and old to vote. Since the march, we have traveled the country meeting, talking and listening to people of all backgrounds. While many agree with our platform to prevent gun violence, one thing we can always agree upon is that it’s in our country’s best interest to have an informed and representative electorate committed to protecting all people. We believe that the more Americans we have participating in our democracy, the better off our country. That is why we are proud of the over 200 members of Mayors For Our Lives working to empower voices in their communities by encouraging and registering them to vote.” said March For Our Lives Co-Founder David Hogg.

To kick off this outreach effort, Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, New York City student activists – including Ramon Contreras – and Stoneman Douglas High School student activists David Hogg and Delaney Tarr visited City-As-School, a high school in Manhattan, to help register students to vote. They also joined a civic engagement discussion with City-As-School students.

As part of this outreach effort, the Administration distributed a Civics for All toolkit to all public schools that includes voter registration lesson plans for teachers; guidelines on where to access and how to fill out voter registration forms; and information on the new DemocracyNYC website where students can sign up as school leads for future voter registration drives. “The City’s Civics for All initiative includes Student Voter Registration Day (SVRD), the first-ever citywide event through which more than 10,000 students registered to vote this past spring, as well as new curricula, funding, and teacher training to promote instruction in civics and hands-on civic engagement opportunities.

The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit also will be sending multilingual outreach specialists to 25 schools with the largest population of eligible student voters. PEU staff will be working directly with these students to help them register to vote and encourage them to sign a DemocracyNYC pledge to become a voter registration lead at their school.

This registration effort is part of Mayor de Blasio’s 10-point democracy agenda known as DemocracyNYC, which aims to increase civic engagement and strengthen democracy locally and nationally.

“New York City’s students represent the next generation of leaders and we are excited for their voices to be heard in the upcoming elections,” said Mayor’s Public Engagement Acting Director Eric Rotondi. “Our democracy works best when it’s shaped by everyone it represents and I encourage all New Yorkers – especially students who are eligible for the first time – to register to vote and cast a ballot this November.

“The Mayor's Community Affairs Unit is proud to be part of the National Voter Registration Day effort. A democracy is only as strong as the generation that will inherit it and we look forward to continue engaging young people throughout the city,” said Marco Carrión, Commissioner of the Community Affairs Unit.

"We spent all summer traveling across the country registering and encouraging thousands of young voters, telling them their vote is their voice." said March For Our Lives Co-Founder, Jaclyn Corin. "Today is National Voter Registration Day, and we’re letting young people know once again that their voice and their vote matter more than ever. We are incredibly grateful for the participation of The United States Conference of Mayors, African American Mayors Association and cities across the nation, who today are working to help millions of young people understand the issues, lift up their voices, and vote."

"For too long, the young people of this country have not been heard," said March For Our Lives Co-Founder, Delaney Tarr. "Today with the help of over 200 mayors, in cities big and small, we are changing that. All across America, young people are stepping up and raising their voices. We have already started to see this energy in elections in places like Florida, Georgia, and New York City. We have felt this energy since the march, and it continued this summer during our national bus tour. Most importantly, we know that our work today will help deliver that same energy in November and in future elections.”

“I am very proud of the work being done in New York City, my home. I am thankful we have had this opportunity to partner with these mayors, and I know that this effort will reach young people everywhere. The work we do today is just half of the equation. Our cities and our country need these young people to show up to the polls on Election Day and vote! Not only do they need to show up, they also need to bring everyone they know with them. We realize that if we want real change, then young people must stand up and deliver the change that we want to see; no one can do this for us. It means heading to the polls this November and in every election.” said Ramon Contreras of March For Our Lives, and Co-Founder of Youth over Guns.

“Today, September 25, is National Voter Registration Day, and I’m so proud and excited to be fighting for change. We are seeing one of the largest youth voter registration increases in history, powered by a youth-driven force. Having the support of our local politicians is incredibly significant – they understand that we can lead a fight and they can help and support us in the voting revolution,” said Arielle Geismar, NYC Student Activist and Director of NYC Says Enough.

“As someone who is unable to vote in this year's election but has many peers eligible to vote, I have seen how youth involvement has changed my generation's outlook on voting. National Voter Registration Day provides a unique opportunity for Americans of all ages to register to vote and verify their registration status. With midterms in 6 weeks, it is our obligation as Americans to ensure that our voices are represented in democratic government regardless of one's political stance or values,” said Felix Tager, student activist, Founder of Shattering the Silence.

“As Americans it is important to register to vote, and in turn actually vote because that is the most effective way to fight for issues that matter to us. There are decisions being made about the well-being of all people, and we should all have a voice in that. Get political, and register to vote today,” said Luis Hernandez, student activist, Youth Over Guns; Executive Director / Justice League NYC; Coordinator

“Today’s youth are our future decision makers, and it is important they are engaged in the political process as early as possible. On National Voter Registration Day, I encourage our young people to get registered and get involved, especially given the consequences of the upcoming mid-term elections. I also want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Mayors For Our Lives for their commitment to increasing civic participation through voter registration, and for launching this important initiative,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"Civic participation is crucial and necessary, I applaud Mayor Bill De Blasio for taking the initiative and encouraging our youth to register to vote and become civically engage. His leadership in organizing a non-partisan coalition of mayors across the country for this initiative is admirable and commendable. The youth are our future leaders and their voice matters from a young age," said State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey.

"At a time in our country when voting rights are under assault from all corners, New York must live up to its reputation as a progressive leader,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “Access to the ballot box should be easy and fair. I am proud to have written bills to enact Automatic Voter Registration and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds as part of our efforts to empower voters."

"Voting is the most fundamental right of a citizen in our democracy, but really just the minimum of what we each must do to ensure our government functions for the good of the many, not just the few. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for reaching out to the students of our city to help set them on a path toward a lifetime of civic participation,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.

"On National Voter Registration Day we are reminded that we all have a role to play in maintaining and strengthening our democracy, by registering to vote, casting a ballot on election day, and encouraging others to do the same. It's especially important that we engage young people who are newly eligible to participate," said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, the Ranking Democrat on the Committee on State Senate Elections. "It's also a good day to remember that we have much work to do to in New York State to reform our election laws to remove unnecessary obstacles and antiquated procedures that make it much more difficult to register and vote than it ought to be. I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for championing voter registration among students today and for his many years of stalwart advocacy for election reform."

“Today, on National Voter Registration Day, I am happy to lend my support to Mayor de Blasio's new initiative, DEMOCRACY NYC. It imperative that we encourage and inform our children of this important civic duty beginning at a young age. Not only do students now have the availability to learn about the importance of voting, they are being provided direct access to learn how they can be engaged in their communities all year-round," said State Senator Kevin Parker.

“As a State Senator of a district with a high concentration of low-income and minority communities, I know how important it is to empower, educate and mobilize individuals who have been historically underrepresented. Since being elected, I have constantly worked to improve civic participation in my district by consistently holding civic classes for members of the community especially our youth," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "I applaud this administration's ongoing efforts to involve more young people into our democratic process so they can shape the future of our City and our State," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera.

“Now, more than ever, it is critically important that we fight both voter apathy and repressive actions to dilute and prevent voting, especially by minorities. We need to stress the need for registration, and reach out as much as we can to increase the voting rolls, to ensure that democracy truly reigns in our state and nation,” said State Senator Luis Sepulveda

“Mayor Bill de Blasio’s concerted student voter registration effort is truly inspiring,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte. “We must make every effort to ensure that our young people are civically engaged, our democracy will need a new generation to engage with it. I want to commend the Mayor’s efforts on this front and his participation in the bi-partisan Mayors For Our Lives initiative.”

“Whether you're young in age or young in heart, it is critical for your voice to be heard at the ballot box by first being registered to vote. On this #NationalVoterRegistration Day, I commend Mayor de Blasio for collaborating with young leaders and Mayors For Our Lives to ensure that New Yorkers are registered to vote. From Dominicanos USA to New Leaders Council to Generation Citizen, our team is collaborating with leaders across New York to register our Sisters and Brothers so we continue moving New York forward for the people,” said Assembly Member Michael Blake.

"Voting is the key to empowerment for all young adults and a powerful way to assert yourself as an active, participating member of our democracy," said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz. "I urge all eligible students to get themselves registered and make sure their voices are heard."

“Ensuring that our youth have the tools to continue to be civically engaged and amplify their voices is critically important for them and for our communities. ” said Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa. “We have seen what the power of our children’s voices can do as change agents across our nation and today on National Voter Registration Day we are ensuring that their power is abundantly clear at the polls by making it easier to register to vote.”

Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz said, "In an age where the protections of our government are being tested like never before, it is important to remember who actually holds the power in our democracy: the people. Today's students are tomorrow's leaders and that leadership begins with the simple act of registering to vote. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his focus on engaging students in the electoral system on this National Voter Registration Day and encourage all people who are eligible to register to do so without further delay."

“For many young people, voting is a symbol of adulthood where they get to engage in local government and exercise their civic right. The Mayors For Our Lives student registration initiative is a great way to equip them with the resources needed to make this important decision. No matter how young or old, every vote counts, every voice matters, so be heard and make a difference” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman.

"Voting is a right, not a privilege in New York. Our young people who vote as soon as they are eligible send a strong message that their vote counts and matters. Let's get every high school student to register. They are our future," said Assembly Member Felix Ortiz.

“Nearly one hundred years ago, women obtained the right to vote, after persistent struggle over numerous decades to amend the Constitution of the United States. The civil rights battle for all Americans was waged to assure that voting rights would no longer be trampled upon by those seeking to retain power by controlling access to the ballot box. By registering to vote, we honor Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ida B. Wells, Medgar Evers, The Reverend Martin Luther King, and all those activists who dedicated their lives to the enfranchisement, registration and turnout of new voters. Honor their legacy and the future of America by registering to vote now,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.

Assembly Member Latrice M. Walker said, "Getting students registered to vote is detrimental to their first amendment right- freedom of speech. Voting is one of the loudest ways for your voice to be heard especially in New York City. DemocracyNYC is the best way to bring young adults out to the polls and educating them about utilizing their civil liberties.”

"Our city and our country are at their best when our students are invested in the well-being of the communities they are a part of. National Voter Registration Day is an important opportunity to help students understand the significance of being engaged in the civic process and our democracy. I commend Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza for spreading this message and connecting our city's students with powerful, vocal activists who embody that spirit,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education.

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