The Supervisor of Elections office, in conjunction with the District School Board of Pasco County, is proud of the success of the Vote in Honor of a Vet program. Designed for teenagers, the program encourages voter registration and participation in elections. The program, started in 2007 in Pasco County, has become part of the annual Great American Teach-In (GATI).
The intent of the program is to encourage voting among our young citizens. For 30 years, beginning in 1972, voter turnout among 18-24 year olds showed a nearly continuous decline, a trend that began to show upward growth in 2004, 2006, and again in 2008. The 2008 presidential election represents the highest voter turnout for this age group since 1972, where it is estimated that nearly 23 million 18-29 year olds cast a ballot. Programs such as Vote in Honor of a Vet can hopefully reinforce this upward trend.
Through veterans sharing their stories in the classrooms, students learn firsthand of the personal sacrifice that enables us to continue living in a democratic society. Voting in honor of a vet is a way teenagers can show respect and “give back” to those who gave so much to protect our democracy.
This is how the program works. We invite veterans to complete and submit a short biography by clicking on the link below. If you are willing to share your experience by speaking in classrooms, please indicate that on the biography. Your desire to speak publicly is welcomed but not necessary to participate. Families of deceased or missing in action veterans are also invited to submit biographies on their behalf. The biographies will be presented as certificates to students who participate in the program and pledge to Vote in Honor of Their Vet. Participating students also receive commemorative dog tags to wear as a constant reminder of the sacrifices of veterans. The ultimate goal is to motivate teenagers to vote by personalizing the experience and giving it meaning.
If you are a veteran, or family member of a veteran, we need your participation to continue to make this valuable program a success. Even if the Great American Teach-In date has passed, the program is available upon special request. Call (800)851-8754 to make arrangements. We will continue to compile biographies for the current school year on an ongoing basis. You are welcome to make copies of the Veteran Biography Form and distribute them as you wish, or simply complete the form on-line and submit it for yourself. Forms not completed on-line should be mailed to PO Box 300, Dade City 33526. If you have further questions, contact our office at (800)851-8754.
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