CONGRESSMAN ELIJAH CUMMINGS (MD-7) TO INTRODUCE THE CONSTITUTION AND CITIZENSHIP DAY ACT OF 2009 TO THE 111TH CONGRESS ON SEPTEMBER 17, 2009
Washington, DC, September 16, 2009 – Congressman Elijah Cummings' Office with the assistance of the Center for Effective Policy in Government and have been working to draft and introduce 'The Constitution and Citizenship Day Act of 2009'. On Constitution Day of each year (September 17th), this piece of legislation will provide public and charter high schools with an incentive to expose students to the importance of the Constitution through coordinated assemblies and/or events, as well as to distribute and collect voter registration forms from eligible students of those schools pursuant to state law.
This federal legislation will have a generational effect on the civic education of public school students across the country, and it will ultimately lead to a vast overall expansion of our nation's electorate. This bill is patterned after SB 128, a successful piece of state legislation passed and signed into law in Maryland in 2007 under the same name. Since the passage of the state measure, the Maryland Board of Elections, between the 2006 and 2008 electoral cycles cites a 90% increase in voter registration of 17 and 18 year old new voter applicants in the state.
Organizations and elected officials such as Common Cause, Democracy Matters, The Washington Metropolitan Council AFL-CIO, Hip Hop Caucus, the Student Association for Voter Empowerment, Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, co-sponsors Congressmen Kendrick Meek, (FL-17); Charles Rangel, (NY-15); John Conyers, (MI-14); Eleanor Holmes-Norton, (DC); Maxine Waters, (CA-35); Diane Watson, (CA-33); Donald Payne, (NJ-10); Melvin Watt (NC-12); Andre Carson, (IN-7) all have formally endorsed this important piece of federal legislation that will assist new young voters in becoming fully aware of the document that binds us all in a democratic union and their responsibility within the political process is legislation long overdue.