Philly Students Vote 2016
Welcome to the 2016 Philly Students Vote Citywide Election!
Want a way for your school to feel connected to the current presidential election—including students who are not yet old enough to vote?
Looking for students to learn about the voter registration process?
Want a chance to win $1,000—and a pizza party—for your students?
The Philly Students Vote program is a chance for all high school and middle school students in Philadelphia to participate in an authentic electoral process. The process is simple and works just like a regular election. Once you sign up for the program, students at your school must register to vote in advance of Election Day, and then they will vote online on November 8!
How to Sign Up
To be eligible to participate, you must first fill out the School Registration Form. The form will ask you to name both a teacher sponsor and one or two student organizers who will be the main managers of the program in your school.
Who should a student organizer be? Consider the following:
- Do they have a passion for elections and politics? Will their enthusiasm encourage other students to participate?
- A part of the student organizers’ responsibilities will be to enter registration info into a simple online database. When and where will they have access to a computer to do this work?
- What is your rapport with the school? When you approach other students, teachers, and administrators about the project, will those people listen?
To register, you will also need to submit a current student roster from your school. This information will be converted into the online database that your student organizers will use to track registration. No information other than student names is needed, and the database will not be shared with anyone but you and the student organizers.
Once registration is complete, the program runs in two phases:
Phase One – Voter Registration
October 5 – November 1
On Wednesday, October 5, participating schools will be provided with two resources to begin registering their school to participate in the vote: paper registration forms and the online database for entering email addresses. To register students at your school to vote, the student organizers must do two things:
- Have individual students fill out and sign registration forms.
- Correctly enter registered students’ email addresses into the online database.
Student organizers should brainstorm their strategies for registration in advance of the October 5 start date. For suggestions on what to do (and what not to do), see our Tips and Tricks.
High Schools may also elect to participate in the 18+ voter registration contest. All they have to do is have students 18 or older fill out the separate PA Voter Registration form and then make a photocopy (or take a high-quality photograph) to submit to the contest.
Voter registration ends at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1. At this time, the online databases will be locked, and student organizers will not be able to add or edit any of the information.
All paper registration forms must be received or postmarked by Tuesday, November 1. We recommend delivering the forms in person, but they can also be mailed if necessary. Please deliver or send forms to:
Office of Strategic Initiatives
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Please be aware that submitting the paper registration forms is mandatory.
Schools that do not submit their paperwork will not be eligible to win the contest.
Phase Two – Election Day
At 7:00 a.m. on November 8, every registered student will receive an email invitation to participate in the online vote. Just like the polling places in Philadelphia, voting will be open until 8:00 p.m. Student organizers will be responsible for getting out the vote on this day!
After the Vote – The Prizes!
The Free Library will announce the results of the popular vote in the hours after the online polls close. After announcing the election results, we will calculate which schools won the contest in the following categories:
- Highest Percentage of Registered Voters (out of total student population)
First Place: $1,000 / Second Place: $500
- Highest Percentage of Voter Turnout (out of total student population)
First Place: $1,000 / Second Place: $500
- Highest Percentage of 18+ registrations (out of the senior class; high schools only)
First Place: $500
The student organizers and teacher sponsor will decide how they want the funds to be spent, and the Free Library will make the purchase or the payment. The Free Library will also provide the teacher sponsor with $50 to host a pizza party celebration for the first place student organizers and their team.
Note: Schools can only receive one prize, so if a school places in more than one category, one prize will automatically go to the school that places next.
We hope you’ll join us!
Sign up now using the School Registration Form
The competition begins on Wednesday, October 5!