Representative Anna V. Eskamani (Orlando) and Senator Annette Taddeo (Miami-Dade) filed House Bill 903 (HB 903) and Senate Bill 1228 (SB 1228), respectively, on Monday, in an effort to implement online voter registration programs in public high schools across the state.
HB903 and SB1228 would require all Florida public high schools to host bipartisan voter registration presentations, giving eligible students the option to register or pre-register to vote.
These presentations, designed by the Division of Elections, would give students the resources to register to vote online. Students could not be forced or persuaded to register to vote or register with a certain party, and teachers would not be involved in the presentation in any capacity.
“Our youths are the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. By providing accessible voter registration in Florida’s public schools we are facilitating a space where these students can contribute to the democratic process of this great nation.”, said Taddeo in a press release. “Many people in our state don’t know that if you turn 18 years old by election time, you can pre-register at the age of 17 years old and these presentations can help inform on just that.”
If passed, Florida would become the 7th state or district to have such programs, joining Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia.
“I first got pre-registered to vote as a high school student in Orange County thanks to the leadership of my public school teacher,” said Eskamani. “And that was before online voter registration was even an option. Now we have technology as a friend to help increase voter pre-registration and registration for students and their families. Let’s turn up civic engagement by leveraging and integrating this fantastic tool for our young leaders.”
On the back of an election cycle that surpassed vote turnout records, both Republicans and Democrats have engaged in strategies to rejuvenate and build upon their youth voting blocs.
A recent study conducted by Project VOTE found that high school voter registration programs are an effective method of increasing electoral participation among young people. Supplemented with broad support across the political spectrum, similar measures are expected to be undertaken in additional states.
The pair of bills will be voted on in the upcoming January legislative cycle.