2023–2024 Voting Rights Prizes

As part of The Right to Vote: The Role of States and the US Constitution, the Gilder Lehrman Institute is pleased to announce the ten winners of the Voting Rights Prizes. These entries (eight submitted individually, two submitted by a group) include six argumentative essays and letters, three podcast PSAs, and one project report. This outstanding student work demonstrates a commitment to civic engagement by focusing on an issue related to voting in the winners' respective community, county, or state.

Written Entries

Argumentative Essays and Letters


Tristan Burchett, Saint Ann’s School (Brooklyn, NY), for the essay “Unshackling Democracy: Why New York Should Allow Everyone to Vote – Including Prisoners”

Elizabeth Harris, Stuyvesant High School (New York, NY), for the essay “To Reform or Not to Reform: The Electoral College”

William Long, Mountain Brook Junior High School (Mountain Brook, AL), for the essay “A Solution to Gerrymandering”

Colton Scott, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School (Austin, TX), for the untitled letter to the editor on Black suffrage, eulogizing Gladys Coleman

Abraham Went, St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ), for the essay “Beyond Democracy: Exploring Voter Participation in Hudson County, NJ”

Brandon Zhang, Stuyvesant High School (New York, NY), for the essay “Counting Votes: Lessons from Punch-Card Voting Systems”

Project Reports

Anthony Akator Jr., BASIS Tucson North (Tucson, AZ), for the project report “The Right to Vote Project: Fostering Civic Participation”


Podcast PSAs

Miles Dupont and Avery Emerson, Wachusett Regional High School (Holden, MA), for a podcast PSA on voter access for people with disabilities

Jolie Ibrahim, Parthinea Abdalla, Victoria Wylde, and Jossana Morkos, Spotswood High School (Spotswood, NJ), for a podcast PSA on 17-year-old pre-registration and primary voting in New Jersey

Cailyn Kim, The Rivers School (Weston, MA), for a podcast PSA on youth voting

Gameplay pieces for Votes for Women

Winners of the Voting Rights Prizes received a $500 prize, a special The Right to Vote notebook, and a copy of Votes for Women, a new board game from Fort Circle Games. Named one of the best board games of 2023 by Polygon and Vulture, Votes for Women captures and celebrates the struggle by inviting players to join the suffrage movement, organize support, and campaign for victory across the forty-eight states that were called to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919–1920. The card-driven game can be played cooperatively, competitively, or in solitaire mode, and in each version players must navigate the historic events, movement schisms, and political challenges of the era to win.

The Institute thanks the Center for Civic Education, Civics101 from NHPR, Fort Circle Games, and Street Law for their additional support of the Voting Rights Prizes.

Logos for the Center for Civic Education, Civics101 podcast, Fort Circle Games, and StreetLaw