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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Iowa ramps up push to register young voters

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Thursday, February 22, 2024   

Election officials in Iowa are upping their efforts to increase political participation among the state's youngest voters. A registration event has netted thousands of new voters - who are teens.

Iowa law requires high schools to conduct two voter registration drives every year to educate students.

This year, Secretary of State Paul Pate set aside a single day to turn the education into action, and get eligible high school students registered.

In Iowa, 17-year-olds who will be 18 by November of an election year can vote in primaries, and Pate travels the state to teach kids how government affects them.

"I ask young people, 'How many of you work a part-time job?' And hands go up," said Pate. "And I go, 'Well then, you're paying taxes right now - and you have no voice in how much you should be paying and where it goes.' Really, state and local government has a huge impact on these young people. So, we start with that message."

Pate said 4,500 17-year-olds are registered to vote as a result of the efforts. That's 1,100 more than were registered six months ago.

Pate said often, getting students registered to vote is the hard part. Once they're signed up, it's important for them to learn about the issues - and that happens in ways new and old.

"Still, the number one influencer is their family, so they're still having that conversation around the dinner table," said Pate. "And of course, the second one coming into it is social media - and their friends coming right in, close to third. So those are the audiences we have to play to, to instill in them why they need to be voters."

In yet another effort to encourage participation, Iowa held a straw poll for teens just before the state's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses last month. Six thousand students cast ballots.

Donald Trump came out on top in the Republican contest - and Marianne Williamson, who has since dropped out of the presidential race, won on the Democratic side.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.




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