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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
August 26, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals:

High School Voter Education Weeks (September 13–24, 2021)

Civic education should be an ongoing learning experience. It is important to ensure that our students are learning to become active and engaged participants in our democracy. It is never too early to motivate our students to get involved. We encourage your school to participate in High School Voter Education Weeks on September 13–24, to put our students on the path to a lifetime of civic engagement and voting.

It is easier now than ever to get sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds civically engaged through pre-registration. Once pre-registered, they will automatically become active voters on their eighteenth birthday.

The first opportunity for students to vote may be in the September 14, 2021, California Gubernatorial Recall Election. The last day to register online or by mail to vote in this election is August 30, 2021.

Pre-registration for sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds has been a huge success in California, with over 750,000 pre-registrations since the program launched in September 2016.

The Secretary of State’s office can provide resources, and county elections officials can serve as partners to make it easy for schools to participate.

Here are some ideas and online resources to help you:

  • To learn more about pre-registration in California, please visit: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/high-school-programs/#prereg.
  • Encourage eligible students to visit https://registertovote.ca.gov/ to register or pre-register to vote. Include the link in online communication with parents and on the school website.
  • Urge administrators, students, and parents to visit the Secretary of State’s High School and Youth Initiatives web page portal, which includes important information about voter registration and pre-registration, the Student Mock Election, the Student Poll Worker program, and High School Voter Education Weeks: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/high-school-programs/.
  • Review the High School Voter Education Weeks section of the web portal, which provides an opportunity for high schools and students to partner with county elections officials to promote civic education and foster an environment that cultivates lifelong voters and active citizens.

By working together, we can educate and encourage our young citizens to register to vote and turn out at the polls to ensure their voices are heard in 2021 and beyond.

If you have any questions about High School Voter Education Weeks or other civic engagement opportunities, please feel free to contact Christi van Eyken, Associate Governmental Program Analyst, Elections Division, California Secretary of State, at cvaneyken@sos.ca.gov, or Pete Callas, Education Administrator, High School Innovations and Initiatives Office, California Department of Education, at 916-319-0669 or pcallas@cde.ca.gov [Note: the preceding contact information has changed. Please contact the High School Innovations and Initiatives Office, California Department of Education, at 916-319-0893 or HSIIO@cde.ca.gov.].

Sincerely,

Shirley N. Weber, PhD
California Secretary of State

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

TT:df
Last Reviewed: Friday, June 21, 2024

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