ONLD Essay Contest


The Oregon New Lawyers Division’s Law Related Education Subcommittee announces the inaugural Law Day Art Contest, which gives students an opportunity to express their ideas about the importance of the right to vote. The art contest is open to all Oregon middle school and junior high students. Teachers may choose to integrate the contest into existing curriculum, or encourage students to submit entries on their own.

This year’s Law Day Theme is American Democracy and the Rule of Law: “Why Every Vote Matters.”  The 2014 theme asks students to reflect on the importance of a citizen’s right to vote, and also the challenges we still face in ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to participate in our democracy.

According to Abraham Lincoln, one of the most important ideas in our country is “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”  If people who should be able to vote aren’t allowed to vote, or face barriers when they try to vote, the American government won’t be representative of what the people want. If that happens, it won’t be a government “by the people.”

As former President Lyndon Johnson said, “[e]very American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” But there are still problems with voting today. For example, not everyone has the information they need about how and when to go vote, and if they do go vote, some people face long wait times and poorly trained workers who are unable to help them if they have questions at the poll. Every vote counts and we must do what we can to help all eligible people vote.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your art:

  • What does the right to vote mean to you?

  • Why should you vote?

  • What happens when American citizens decide not to vote?

  • What happens when American citizens are denied the right to vote?

  • What happens when there are barriers to voting (like long lines to vote, or confusion about how to fill out the voting ballot)?


  • First place: $200, Certificate of Achievement, and artwork will be framed and displayed (along with a plaque containing information about the contest and the student’s name, school name, and grade level) in the Oregon Department of Justice offices from June-December 2014

  • Honorable Mention (2): $100 and a Certificate of Achievement 


  • All entries must be submitted on 8 by 10 inch paper.

  • Entrants may use an art material in creating their entries, including but not limited to crayon, watercolor, marker, pen, ink, pen and charcoal.

  • Entries must be “flat” and one-dimensional so as to fit inside a picture frame.

  • All entries must depict this year’s Law Day theme.

  • Entries must be submitted to the following address and postmarked no later than May 1, 2014:

Oregon State Bar
ONLD Art Contest
16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd.
P.O. Box 231935
Tigard, OR 97281-1935

  • Each entry must contain the following information on the reverse side of the artwork:

    • Student’s full name

    • Student’s address and home telephone number

    • Name of the student’s school

    • Student’s grade level and teacher

  • Failure to abide by these rules will result in disqualification of the entry.

  • Entries will not be returned.

About Law Day

Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law and how the legal process contributes to the freedoms that Americans share. It was first celebrated in 1958, and is usually accompanied by thousands of programs aimed at youth and adults throughout the country. Each year, a theme is chosen to spotlight a particular aspect of the legal process. For more information, check out the ABA’s website at


Oregon New Lawyers Division
503-620-0222 or toll-free in Oregon at 800-452-8260, ext. 384