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April 2 , 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Doug Dunbar, Secretary of State's Office
(207) 626-8406

Soshana Hoose, TV3, Portland School System
(207)874-8173

Secretary of State and Coalition of
Schools and Television Station
Launch Youth Voting Media Project

AUGUSTA , MAINE -- Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky announced on Friday that his office has joined with schools and community television stations across Maine to launch the first-ever Youth Voting Media Project .

This initiative, which is part of the Secretary of State's comprehensive Promote the Vote effort, will encourage students in middle and high schools to develop, film and present 30 second public service announcements (PSA) about the importance of voting and civic participation. A second part of the project will assist students in preparing and televising longer-format programming focused on issues, candidates, and the election process.

Importantly, the project will also encourage learning in key areas of curriculum, including social studies, technology, language arts and journalism, as well as visual and performing arts. This initiative is designed to be consistent with the goals and objectives of Maine 's Learning Results.

Each student participant will be recognized for taking part in this unique project. A showcase of PSAs will be held in Augusta next October. Selected PSAs will be made available to television stations throughout the state for broadcast prior to the November general election.

“The election of 2004 presents an opportunity to chart a new course for voter turnout among young adults. Although Maine is a national leader in turnout, additional steps can and should be taken to encourage more young people to get involved in the democratic process. This Youth Voting Media Project will give students a chance to speak their minds, to explore the issue of civic participation, and ultimately to urge more of their peers to register and vote,” Secretary Gwadosky commented.

The Youth Voting Media Project is being developed in cooperation with TV3 in Portland. The station, which is part of the Portland Public School System, sought and received a grant for the project from the national Youth Vote Coalition and Carnegie Corporation. TV3 is making its facilities available for planning and development of this initiative.

"The Portland Public School system is pleased to play a lead role in this first-of-its-kind effort in Maine," said Portland Superintendent Mary Jo O'Connor. "The Youth Voting Media Project offers a unique opportunity for young people to connect with the electoral process, to become involved citizens and to have their voices heard."

Additional information about the project, along with curriculum and registration materials, is available online at www.maine.gov/sos, or by calling the Secretary of State's Office in Augusta at 626-8406.