Voice of Democracy Rules and Eligibility

What is the Voice of Democracy Program?

Since 1947, the Voice of Democracy has been the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW’s) premier scholarship program. Each year, nearly 57,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme is, America: Where do we go from here?

Who Can Enter

The Voice of Democracy Program is open to students in grades 9-12 enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private, parochial school, or home study program in the U.S., its territories or its possessions. Dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools are also eligible to participate.

How To Enter

Download the Voice of Democracy entry form and brochure to submit your essay to your local VFW Post.
Students should record their reading of the draft to an audio CD or flash drive. The recording can be no shorter than three minutes and no longer than five minutes (plus or minus five seconds). Entries begin at the Post level. Once the student creates their essay and completes burning the audio version to an audio CD/flash drive, they can submit their typed version, CD/flash drive and the Voice of Democracy entry form to their local participating VFW Post by the Oct. 31 deadline.

Judging Criteria

Originality is worth 30 points: Treatment of the theme should show imagination and human interest.
Content is worth 35 points: Clearly express your ideas in an organized manner. Fully develop your theme and use transitions to move smoothly from one idea to the other. Delivery is worth 35 points: Speak in a clear and credible manner.

Download the Voice of Democracy entry form and brochure to submit your essay to your local VFW Post.

View and Download Entry Form

View and Download Rules