Voice of Democracy 2023-2024 Program

"What are the Greatest Attributes of our Democracy?”


All information pertaining to the theme, judging, eligibility, awards and other aspects of this program are contained in the Veterans of Foreign Wars program booklet for the Annual Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program.  Post Chairmen are responsible to ensure that their Post programs are conducted within these rules and deadlines.  

The Voice of Democracy Program is a joint program with the VFW Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of Hawaii.  The Auxiliary does not need the permission of a Post to participate in the Voice of Democracy Program. Post and District Chairmen are expected to include their VFW Auxiliary counterparts in all activities concerning the conduct of local programs. Post Chairmen must refer to the Department program for their Department program requirements and deadline dates.  


- Eligibility- 


Ninth (9th), Tenth (10th), Eleventh (11th) and Twelfth (12th) grade students in public, private, parochial and home schools in the State of Hawaii and American Samoa.  Former first place winners at the State and National level competition or any foreign exchange student are not eligible.  Students do not have to be a relative of a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars or its VFW Auxiliary to participate.  


- Recording- 


Recorded scripts must not be less than THREE (3) minutes and not longer than FIVE (5) minutes.  A five (5) second variation is acceptable to compensate for the possible deviation in equipment.  Scripts MUST be recorded on full size standard FLASH DRIVE ONLY.   Scripts must be recorded without music or background voice.  Students must not use their names, the name or location of the sponsoring VFW unit, or the name or location of their school.  Recordings must not include any introduction of the script. The only voice on the recording must be that of the students.  Special consideration may be given for students that are speech challenged upon written request Department.  Scripts should be recorded using the best possible equipment available. Post Chairmen are responsible for the content and quality of the entry.  Every effort should be made to submit the best quality entry possible.


Cassette Tapes and CD's are no longer accepted by State or National.  


Make certain your Flash Drive Plays on another piece of play back equipment other than on the one it was recorded. Make certain your recording has absolutely no back ground noise whatsoever. 


- Posts -  


To receive credit for participation in the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Competition, a Post MUST SPONSOR THE PROGRAM IN THEIR COMMUNITY.  While it is important to offer the Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program in our schools, it is not solely a program for the schools.  You may offer the competition to any ninth, tenth, eleventh or twelfth grade student.  Foreign exchange students are not eligible.  All entries MUST be submitted directly to the Post.  They may be sponsored through local schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church youth groups, Junior ROTC programs, the home schooled, etc.  The Post is encouraged to solicit participants from as many sources as possible.  


The Post will hold their own judging and may submit to Department the number of students permitted by the following breakdown.  

  • 1-15 student participants =   1 top Post entry is allowed to advance to District
  • 16-30 student participants = 2 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District
  • 31-45 student participants = 3 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District
  • 46-60 student participants = 4 top Post entries are allowed to advance to District 


Posts may advance as many winners as they select based on the total number of students participating.  Post judging is the responsibility of the Post Chairman and must be conducted in accordance with the National Judging Criteria.  


The Post may forward each 1st place winning entry to Department.  Each student entry submitted by a Post to Department must be an equal 1st place winner.  This means each Post student entry sent to Department must receive the same award.  For example, a Post has 55 student entries and is eligible to send four entries to Department for judging.  These four entries must each receive an equal first place award from the Post. If the Post lists them as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4thplace, then they can only send in one entry as the 1st place winner. 


 It is the responsibility of the Post and Department Adjutants to input the Voice of Democracy entries into the All-American Dashboard.  This is to include all monetary values spent on this event. Failure to do so can cause the Post, District and Department to show a Not Met in this category.


Each Post entry submitted to the Department for judging must be certified on the proper National Entry Form by the Post Chairman to be the Post winner of the Post Program judging.  


The following items MUST accompany the Post entry to Department for judging. 

  • One student script taped in accordance with the above rules.
  • One completed student entry form the National Program booklet.
  • Good quality head and shoulder photograph. Wallet size
  • One typed copy of the student’s speech. 


It is the responsibility of the Post Chairman to ensure that all materials are included.  Any entry that does not include all materials may not be judged.


- Reporting -


To obtain program credit the Post Chairman portion of the Student Entry Form must be completed and submitted to Department with each Post entry.  The form must include the number of students participating from the school and the approximate cost for the program and awards for that school.  Proper credit cannot be given without this information.



- Deadlines - 

Deadline for Post sponsored program entries is October 31, 2023.  Post judging may not be held before November 1, 2023 and must be completed in time to ensure that winning entries are delivered to the Department Chairmen by December 9, 2023



Post judging is the responsibility of the Post Chairman to be conducted in accordance with the National Judging Criteria.   


The Department deadline for District entries is December 9, 2023.  This deadline is ABSOLUTE and it includes all paper work.  Department judging will be closed and will be the responsibility of the Department Committee. Be advised that the state judging will be attended only by the VFW Department Committee Members, VFW State Auxiliary Committee Members and the State Judges. The Committee has the sole authority to disqualify from the Department judging any entry which is in violation of the rules as stated in the Department Program and the National Program booklet. 


- Awards -              


All Post and Department awards are the responsibility of those organizations.

Department awards will be presented at the 2024 Department of Hawaii Mid-Winter Conference VOD/PP Luncheon held on February 10, 2024 All Department winners are expected to be present.  The Post assumes the cost of their winner’s transportation and lodging.  Department will provide each Post winner two luncheon tickets. Luncheon tickets for family members and other guests are the sole responsibility of the guests and or the sponsoring Post.  

To meet the requirements of the All-State program a Post must submit a VOD entry.


Ron Lockwood, Chairman