DES MOINES, IOWA (October 16, 2019) — Thousands of students will vote for their preferred candidates for President,  Senate, and House during Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Iowa Youth Straw Poll on Tuesday, October 29. This will be the first Iowa Youth Straw Poll since a change in Iowa law that allows 17-year-olds to register to vote and participate in primary elections. Next year, they can vote in the Iowa Caucuses and the June primary if they will be 18 by November 3, 2020. 

“We’re very excited about 17-year-olds having the opportunity to vote in the primaries, and with the Iowa Youth Straw Poll coming up, it’s an opportunity for young people to let these candidates know that their opinions count and their voice is important,” Sec Pate said.

The Iowa Youth Straw Poll is a hands-on educational experience designed to inspire civic engagement. Every public school, private school, homeschooling-student, and youth-group in the state is invited to participate. Presidential and Congressional candidates were asked to provide a short video with a personalized message for Iowa students. The videos are available on the Elections 101 website and on Sec Pate’s YouTube page.

The Iowa Youth Straw Poll has the support of the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Council for the Social Studies and has received national recognition for outstanding leadership in voter education.

“The Iowa Youth Straw Poll directly engages students in understanding how democracy works while preparing them to become active citizens,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise, a former social studies teacher.

The Youth Straw Poll is one component of Secretary Pate’s Elections 101 curriculum that is available for any school or civic organization to utilize. It is written by Iowa teachers for Iowa teachers. Two new components of the curriculum are lesson plans on the history of women’s-suffrage and women in politics. The curriculum is available for free at Elections101.org.

Students, teachers, and organizations can register for the Iowa Youth Straw Poll by clicking here. A full list of schools that have already registered is available at this link. Teachers and students are encouraged to post photos of their Youth Straw Poll activities on social media, utilizing the #BeAVoter hashtag.

An audio clip from Sec Pate is available for your use at this link.

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