PA Department of State

PA Governor’s Civic Engagement Award (GCEA) Program

Posted on September 24, 2019

We, at the Department of State, are thrilled to kick off the third year of the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award (GCEA) program. We have had two successful years, and now we are looking ahead to another landmark year for high school civic engagement.

The GCEA, presented by the Pennsylvania Departments of State and Education, recognizes the efforts of high school students to educate and engage their fellow students in the voting process. Essentially, the goal of the program is to encourage students to get involved in elections early and often.

There are two main components of the award program. First, we recognize and celebrate high schools that achieve a high level of voter registration. High schools where 85 percent or more of eligible students are registered to vote qualify for the Gold Level award, and those where at least 65 percent of eligible students are registered qualify for the Silver Level Award. To be eligible to register to vote students must be Pennsylvania residents, U.S. citizens and age 18 by the next election.

Second, individual students can earn special recognition by helping to run a voter registration drive at their school AND serving as poll workers in the November election. Poll workers make voting possible by running our polling places on Election Day. Student poll workers learn how elections are run and get a behind-the-scenes look at how our democracy functions.

Last year, we recognized 23 schools with awards at three regional award ceremonies in Montgomery County, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, and eight students earned individual awards. All told, more than 3,000 high school students were registered to vote through the program.

Going into the 2019-20 school year, we hope to set a new standard for participation, with even more schools running voter registration drives and more students registering to vote and stepping up to serve as poll workers.

For more information and to learn what is new this year, click here.

If you have questions about the GCEA program, contact us at ra-voterreg@pa.gov. And don’t forget to sign up at www.votesPA.com/GCEA so we can keep you posted about resources, events and news related to the GCEA. It’s going to be a great year.


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