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Election commission, local schools partnering to get students registered to vote

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Spring Hill Elections 2021

Voters in Spring Hill picked up a sticker on the way out of the polling location to show they exercised their right to vote in March 2021. 

The Williamson County Election Commission is working with local public and private high schools to earn the secretary of state’s new Anne Dallas Dudley Award, which recognizes Tennessee high schools that reach at least 85% voter registration of eligible seniors, 18 years or older, by the next election in May of next year.

“We are excited about Secretary of State [Tre] Hargett’s newly launched Anne Dallas Dudley Award,” said Chad Gray, Williamson County administrator of elections. “We hope this new program and Anne Dallas Dudley’s incredible story will inspire Williamson County students to register to vote.”

Renowned suffragist Anne Dallas Dudley helped lead the successful effort to get the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified nationwide and in her home state, Tennessee. On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and final state needed to pass the amendment giving women the right to vote.

“We launched this new award because we believe our state and our nation are stronger when every eligible Tennessean is registered to vote and casts a ballot on Election Day,” Hargett said. “We are working with county election commissions across our great state to make sure students know that it has never been easier to register to vote in Tennessee and then to participate in our elections.”

High schools across the state that register 100% of eligible students — those who will be 18 or older by the next election — to vote will earn the Anne Dallas Dudley Gold Level Award. High schools that register at least 85% of the eligible students will earn the Anne Dallas Dudley Silver Level Award. 

Tennessee law allows students who will be 18 or older on or before the next election to register to vote. The secretary of state’s office will present high schools that earn gold awards with a commemorative plaque and recognize students who led the registration efforts with certificates. For schools that earn silver awards, the students who led the registration efforts will earn certificates recognizing their work.

All Tennessee public, charter, private school or home school associations are encouraged to participate in the Anne Dallas Dudley Award program. Participating schools must submit an Anne Dallas Dudley Award application by March 31, 2022. For award rules and guidelines, 

visit www.sos.tn.gov/products/Anne-Dallas-Dudley-Award.

The Anne Dallas Dudley Award is the newest effort from the Secretary of State’s civics engagement initiative to promote voter registration among Tennessee students and prepare them to be actively engaged citizens.  

“It is always exciting for our teachers to help our students become participating citizens by conducting an annual voter registration drive in the schools,” said David Rector, the social studies/history curriculum specialist for Williamson County Schools. “In our U.S. government classes, we teach about citizenship and the responsibilities that go with voting. Working with the Williamson County Election Commission is a way we can walk the walk and not just talk the talk.”

The election commission will host voter registration drives at each local public and private high school for eligible students. Here is the current schedule of registration drives:

Sept. 9 – Independence High School

Sept. 14 – Franklin and Renaissance high schools

Sept. 15 – Brentwood and Nolensville high schools

Sept. 16 – Fairview, Ravenwood and Summit high schools

Sept. 17 – Centennial and Page high schools

For more information about the Anne Dallas Dudley Award or voter registration in Williamson County, contact the Williamson County Election Commission Office at 615-790-5711 or visit www.williamsonvotes.net

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