Secretary of State Gorbea Announces Poster, Meme and Essay Contests for RI Students

Competitions to Commemorate the Centennial of the 19th Amendment

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Submitted by the Office of Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea

To commemorate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea and the Department of State are running three contests to encourage students to think about the contributions of women in their communities and the importance of voting.

Extraordinary Women – a poster contest for 4th and 5th graders

We invite all Rhode Island students to participate in a state-wide poster contest celebrating extraordinary women in Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns. Students will select a woman from their community and demonstrate her leadership and community commitment in a three-panel display board. Winning entries will be displayed at the Rhode Island State House. Learn more here.

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Shall Not Be Denied – an essay contest for 7th and 8th graders

We invite all Rhode Island 7th and 8th grade students to participate in a state-wide essay contest inspired by the passage of the 19th amendment.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Essays may address topics such as: why voting matters; present-day barriers to voting; reasons for low voter turnout; or advocacy more broadly. State-wide winners(s) will receive a cash prize and will be invited to read their essays aloud during an event at the Rhode Island State House. Learn more here.

Be a Voter – a meme contest for older students

This competition is targeted to high school and college students, although all entries will be considered. The memes should focus on the power of voting and our civic obligation to vote, but more than anything, be relatable and funny. Memes should be non-partisan, and not issue based. Winning entries will be used, and their creators acknowledged, on the Department of State’s nationally recognized RIVotes Instagram and Twitter accounts throughout 2020Learn more here.

Questions? Please contact Lane Sparkman, Associate Director of Education and Public Programs for the RI Department of State, at