Iowa announces teen voter registration drive, high school competition

DES MOINES, Iowa- The Iowa Secretary of State's Office is challenging high schools, to register 17-year-olds and 18-year olds to vote. Each school that gets 90-percent of eligible teens to sign up, will receive the Carrie Chapman Catt award, and will get a trophy and receive statewide recognition. Schools that register 70-percent of eligible teens will also be recognized, as will schools that register 50-percent of eligible teen voters.

Secretary of State Paul Pate says the teen non-partisan voter registration drive September 24th (National Voter Registration Day) coincides with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.

Dianne Bystrom, the former director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics at Iowa State University says Catt's work during the suffrage movement was inspirational for many women. Bystrom has written a new section of the Iowa Secretary of State's on-line curriculum called "Elections 101" to include Catt's story, as well as information about Iowa women in politics.

Jack Vanderflught, government teacher at Dallas Center-Grimes, says the updated curriculum takes students through elections, the process, and even what it's like to be a campaign manager. He says the curriculum is flexible, but the resources have now been updated and is teacher-friendly. Vanderflught is the advocacy director for the Iowa Council of Social Studies.

Additional details can be found at or

(Pictured: Jack Vanderflught, Dianne Bystrom, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate.)