VIVOTE – Election System of the Virgin Islands

Government of the Virgin Islands


The Elections System of the Virgin Islands, in celebration of its 60th anniversary, is sponsoring a student essay contest. The goal is to encourage more young people to participate in the election process, develop a deeper appreciation for civic duty and learn more about the Virgin Islands (U.S.)’ unique history in fighting for universal suffrage.


The contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 7 through 9 in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Students attending public, private, parochial, and charter schools, and home-schooled are invited to participate. The submission deadline is February 21, by 12:00 p.m.

Essay Requirements

Essays must respond to the following prompt:

In the United States Virgin Islands young people under the age of 18 years cannot vote in primary or general elections.  However, there are many ways that they can influence their communities to understand the importance of the political process and the responsibility of voting for our leaders. What actions can you and your peers take to engage Virgin Islanders to actively participate in democracy, to get involved in elections, raise the level of civic engagement of your peers and to register and vote?

Scoring the Essays

The essays will be scored in two rounds by a panel of journalists and members of the V.I. Board of Elections. Their decisions will be final. The essay judges will make their evaluations based on the following categories:

Identification of actions: An above-average essay will identify not less than five actions and persuasively explain why they promote the goals of the Elections System of the Virgin Islands

Thesis and Argument Development: An above-average essay will convey a competent and well-developed thesis and will critique, examine, or rely on external sources such as news articles, legislative history, studies, interviews, or commentaries. (Staff of ESVI should not be consulted)

Writing Style & Proofreading: An above average essay will contain few to no punctuation, spelling and/or capitalization errors and use precise, topic-appropriate language and vocabulary.

Essay Submission

Only one essay may be submitted per student. All essays must be submitted via email to on or before the submission deadline of February 21, 2023. Hard-copy or late submissions will not be accepted.

Each essay must be:

1.     Typed as a Microsoft Word or Google document with 12pt Times New Roman font with double spacing and submitted as a PDF attachment to the email.

2.     Essays must be between 500 to 600 words not including citations. Citations must be placed in footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies.

3.     Each page should be numbered and identified with a header that includes, student’s name, grade, teacher’s name, school and date of submission.

Announcement of Winners and Prizes

Winners in each school district will be notified by February 28, 2023.

o   First Place: $200 check and $50 Amazon gift card

o   Second Place: $100 check and $50 Amazon gift card

o   Third Place: $50 Amazon gift card

If you may have any additional questions regarding this contest or ESVI 60th Anniversary week of events, please call 340-773-1021 or email