WWE to Register Students in 12,000 High Schools in 50 States
The first phase of the Smackdown Your Vote! 2002 campaign is a combination of voter registration outreach, scholarship incentives and opportunities for involvement focused on reaching students in 12,000 high schools in all 50 states as part of "National High School Voter Registration Month" in May. The campaign also provides 50 college scholarships to those students who plan and implement the best voter registration initiatives in their respective high schools. Later in the year, Smackdown Your Vote! will focus on rallies at live events and college campuses.
Linda McMahon, CEO of WWE Entertainment, announced the start of the program today at a press conference in the Capitol Building. She was joined by Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO); Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA); Michelle Stafford, "Phyllis" on CBS’s The Young & The Restless; and Robin Read, National Foundation for Women Legislators.
"Democracy is built on a simple act: voting. For our democracy to remain strong, we need to encourage our young people to participate in the political process through voting. We need to take that message to the places where young people are - so that it is relevant to them. That’s what we are trying to accomplish through this effort," said Mrs. McMahon. "Now is a perfect time for our young people to send the message to the world that democracy is stronger than ever in the U.S.A., despite the efforts of those who would seek to undermine it."
All in attendance urged young people around the country to register to vote and participate in the 2002 elections as a way to show the strength of America’s democracy. Participants included Linda Bartelsmeyer, Chairman, National Foundation for Women Legislators and Missouri State Representative; Helen Giddings, former National Organization of Women Legislators President and Texas State Representative; Aisha Abdullah-Odiase, State Representative, Rhode Island, # 19; Sharron Angle, Assemblywoman, Nevada, Washoe # 29; and Kay Albowicz, National Association of Secretaries of State.
Officials in eight states – Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio and Washington – say they will work with Smackdown Your Vote! to encourage every high school in their state to participate in the spring initiative. All told, Smackdown Your Vote! has been approached by students in high schools across 50 states to help hold rallies and register high school students to vote.
High school seniors and juniors are still needed to help organize programs at these high schools, and can register to become Smackdown Your Vote! Ambassadors at www.smackdownyourvote.com.
Smackdown Your Vote! Ambassadors are eligible to receive one of fifty $2,000 academic scholarships being offered by World Wresting WWE Entertainment, a partner in Smackdown Your Vote!
The scholarship is valid for use toward college tuition at any U.S. college or university the winner attends in his or her freshman year. Smackdown Your Vote! will also work to help the 50 students obtain summer internships with public officials in their communities to use what they learn by implementing their Smackdown Your Vote! programs to promote youth voter registration and voting. To learn more, log on to www.smackdownyourvote.com.
The scholarship competition will begin on April 1, 2002. Complete rules will be available at www.smackdownyourvote.com on that date. All submissions must be received before May 31, 2002 to be eligible.
About Smackdown Your Vote!
Smackdown Your Vote!, founded in July 2000, is a partnership of nonpartisan organizations created to encourage young people to register and then vote. The members of Smackdown Your Vote! are the National Foundation for Women Legislators, National Association of Secretaries of State, Project Vote Smart, Youth Vote Coalition, Close Up/ First Vote, Youth-e-Vote, California Vote America and World Wrestling WWE Entertainment, Inc. Smackdown Your Vote! has registered more than 200,000 voters since its inception.