Become CIVICS Minded: Nonpartisan Electoral Action

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October 24, 2012 Our democracy is only as strong as the citizens that participate in it. Voting is the foundation of democracy and the sign of a strong community. It takes an active engaged public to ensure broad representation and that public officials are responsive to community concerns. Unfortunately, today our democracy is challenged by gaps in voter participation. According to the California Secretary of State:

  • Of the 37 million people that live in California, about 23 million people are eligible to vote
  • The number of eligible voters that registered to vote decreased between 2009 and 2011.
  • In 2010, less than half of eligible voters cast a ballot in the governor's race.

These numbers are alarming, but charter schools can make a difference. All public schools have a role to play in preparing young people to be thoughtful, engaged stewards of public life. Non-profit charter schools can have a powerful impact on the families they serve by engaging them in the ultimate civic act: voting.

Across the United States, every state in the union has statutes that acknowledge the civic mission of schools. The founders of our universal system of free public education made education for citizenship a core part of the mission of public education, equal to workplace preparation. This determination to educate young Americans about their rights and responsibilities as citizens is known as the civic mission of schools.

The 2012 Election on November 6 offers an opportunity for parents, teachers, and school leaders to model active civic participation for students by encouraging eligible citizens to register to vote, get informed about what's on the ballot, and vote.

Through the CIVICS Campaign, Families that Can is providing resources for volunteers to ramp up non-partisan civic participation statewide. We will support local efforts to engage more people in voting and elections - particularly historically underrepresented groups - regardless of their political views or party affiliation. Get involved today! Visit us at www.ccsa.org/CIVICS for an online tool kit.

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