Last week Rock the Vote released a new state Voting System Scorecard which found that most states are failing to both prepare and engage young people in the democratic process.
Using a 21-point scale, the scorecard measures state laws and policies on voter registration, casting a ballot, and young voter preparation. According to the scorecard, the states with the best policies supporting youth participation are Washington (68%), Iowa (66%), Montana (61%), and North Carolina (61%). Many of these states offer Same Day Registration or online registration and some type of early voting (by mail or in person), as well as high school testing for civics education. The states that scored the lowest are South Carolina (18%), Virginia (18%), Connecticut (20%), Oklahoma (23%), and Tennessee (23%).
Only 15 states scored above 50% and the average national score is 41% (8.6 out of 21 total possible points), leading Rock the Vote to conclude that "young Americans are being left out of the democratic process because of outdated voter registration practices, barriers encountered when trying to cast a ballot, an our country's failure to adequately prepare them for active citizenship."
Your nonprofit can help ensure that young voters are engaged by putting up a "Register to Vote" poster, making registration forms available, and talking to clients and their families about the importance of registering and casting a ballot.
Read the press release, and for more download the one-page scorecard or read the full report and PowerPoint presentation.