On Saturday, October 6th, the Black Parallel School Board held a forum at the Fruitridge Community Collaborative for candidates seeking office for the Sacramento Unified School District Board.
Young people in California ages 16 and 17 now have the ability to pre-register to vote online. Previously, teens could only pre-register by filling out paperwork forms and mailing them in or by handing it into the county election office.
The process of pre-registering is very simple and can be done without the help of a parent or guardian. The questions that are required are likely general knowledge.
A signature is needed in order to complete the registration. The person registering may need to print out the form, sign it, and mail it in. However, if the person has a state ID or driver’s license, the Department of Motorized Vehicles will send in the signature from the ID or license.
But why does it matter that teens can now pre-register online?
91% of teenagers report using mobile devices to go online, while only 6.5% of teens are licensed drivers. Because teens have better accessibility to the internet, versus the ability to drive themselves to election offices or post offices, this hopefully will increase the amount of pre-registered voters, and thus represent the youth more in voting polls.
“I feel like (voting online is) going to be a much faster way of registering/voting,” said Katherine Alestra, a 14-year-old who wants to pre-register to vote. “You can go anywhere with WiFi and be able to do what you need to without the responsibility of going to a specific location.”
This will not make teens pre-register but will allow them to register easier if they wanted to. Hopefully, with easier pre-registration, they will be more inclined to vote by the time they are 18.
New research suggests Latino and youth voters have increased in this election compared to 2012. Youth, Latinos, and Asian Americans continue to be underrepresented in elections overall but it seems that the circumstances of the 2016 election may increase the voter turnout. More than one in five voters casting a ballot in the California primary election 2016 were Latino voters.
“Well of course the turnout is higher than before, they’re facing a man that’s totally against them,” said Enrique Ruz, a student studying political science at the Sacramento State University. “It’s a scary thought that all they could do is vote to save themselves from many future troubles.”
Higher turnout in youth voters in the 2016 California Primary election means they compromised around 7.5% of all ballots. That’s more than double seen in the previous primary and the highest in the twelve year period spent examining the study. Latino registered turnout also increased in 2016’s California primary to 38.7%, up to 22 percentage points from the 2012 presidential primary.
“Minorities in general tend not to vote until Election Day,” said Jose Dante Parra, a democratic strategist. “The fact that people are turning out earlier tells you that people are more attuned to the election and everything that’s happening.”
Accesslocal.tv reached out to a first-time voter in California to get his thoughts on the upcoming election on November 8th.
“Since this is my first time voting, I like to think that my vote matters and could change the outcome of the election,” said Giovanni Barajas when asked about how he feels as a first time voter. “I think (the) Latino vote is a lot higher this time around because they’re facing someone who could affect them extremely, especially for someone like myself.”
Since now there is a significant surge in Latino and young voters in the California primary elections,we may very well expect a larger number of Latino and young voters in the Presidential election. Like the rest of the country, we’ll have to wait and see the results on November 8th.
The California Endowment has commissioned a new movement of young diverse people are presenting the most important social issues to ultimately drive young people to the polls. This is the #GetLoud Movement! Here is a video of interviews that I conducted with young people on their thoughts on voting. Its time to #GetLoud and Vote!
If 14% voter turnout sounds alarming to you, volunteers for the Building Healthy Communities program would agree, so on Saturday they turned that concern into action. On October 4th, a small but determined group of volunteers from BHC, a project of the California Endowment, met at the Asian Resources Center before canvassing the area around South Oak Park in an effort to increase voter turnout for the upcoming primary.
For organizers of this campaign, percentages, not politics, were the focus. And with a 14% turnout in the last election, it became clear that more is needed to be done to get people to the polls this November. Although that number only comes from one precinct in South Oak Park, others are likely not faring much better. With that in mind, volunteers set out in teams of two, knocking on doors and leaving fliers on doorsteps urging locals to make their voices heard on election day.
“If only dogs could vote,” many said, jokingly. On some streets, canvassers were met with more pit bulls and fences than actual residents. Despite these minor setbacks, volunteers made serious headway, meeting with people of various backgrounds who share concerns for their community. Safety in general proved to be a top priority for many residents.
Another challenge volunteers faced was making it clear that they were not working for a political party or candidate, something many people just don’t like dealing with, especially on their day off. Despite this apprehension, volunteers were careful to stress the importance of an informed, involved community. BHC supporters want to ensure that the residents of South Oak Park are properly represented. For them, letting their sense of genuine concern and urgency show through was their best tool.
Not satisfied with just getting registered voters to the polls, this ambitious team was also able to register some new voters, hoping to end the cycle of voter apathy and neglect by elected officials.
The message volunteers hope to send to the community is that officials are more likely to take care of the needs of the people who voted for him or her. It’s a harsh reality, but it makes sense. When residents think that their vote doesn’t matter they skip casting a ballot. In turn, the candidate who wins will give the most attention (and resources) to those who exercise their right to vote. Less involved neighborhoods become neglected, which discourages them even more.
“You can’t change anything if you don’t try,” said volunteer Moses Williams. A simple but effective slogan that residents of South Oak Park will hopefully take with them when they cast their ballots on Tuesday, November 4th.