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Can’t Spell USA Without U!

  The year was 1971. After decades of advocacy, the twenty-sixth amendment was finally passed by the Senate and House of Representatives and ratified by thirty-eight states–enough to meet the three-fourths standard outlined in Article V of the United States Constitution. The ratification of this amendment changed the country forever in a very significant way; […]

 

The year was 1971. After decades of advocacy, the twenty-sixth amendment was finally passed by the Senate and House of Representatives and ratified by thirty-eight states–enough to meet the three-fourths standard outlined in Article V of the United States Constitution. The ratification of this amendment changed the country forever in a very significant way; it allowed citizens aged eighteen to vote.

While voter turnout for 18- to 29-year-olds has increased in the years past, the age group still votes less than all other age groups. However, members of CB’s own Young Progressives and Young Conservatives are trying to combat this reality. On May 3rd and 4th, the two clubs came together and hosted a voter registration drive.

As the president of the Young Conservatives, I loved the idea of having a drive. However, I wasn’t sure how successful the drive would be given the age group we were targeting. Young Progressives Club members Emma Talley (‘19) and Kaleo Mark (‘19) shared my hopes and concerns.

“I was not expecting too much. I would have been happy with 20 or 30 people,” Emma shared. “Surprisingly, people were really receptive. We signed up over 100 people over two days. Everyone was really excited and the volunteers from the California Secretary of State’s Office said it was one of the most successful drives they’d seen.”

“I was definitely surprised that so many people signed up,” Kaleo added. “Emma and I had been working on the drive for several months, but we only started publicizing it four days beforehand. So when so many people registered to vote, I was happy to see the enthusiasm my classmates had to vote.”

Like Emma and Kaleo, I did not expect our drive to be so successful. After two days, we registered and pre-registered 120 people! This is especially exciting given the importance of upcoming elections.

One of the many amazing posters designed by Emma and Kaleo to promote the drive.

It is here that I would like to take a brief intermission to thank the California Voter Education and Outreach services at the Secretary of State’s office for providing all the goodies and supplemental voter information as well as Young Conservatives moderator Ms. Mary Bowers for contacting them. Kaleo, Emma, and I are all extremely grateful for the help these amazing people offered. 

 

Midterm elections tend to attract fewer voters because they seem less important, but this is not quite true. While there may be more weight in voting for the president, midterm elections are important on a smaller scale in that more focus is placed on local issues. For example, this year, offices like the state governor, county sheriff, and county district attorney are on the ballot. These offices may not be as alluring as the presidency, but they are still significant.

The election many students get to participate in this year will determine California’s course the next four years. We get to support those we think will serve us best and finally have an official say in government through our ability to vote. The importance of this ability and right cannot be overstated.

“It’s important to vote so you can elect politicians and pass measures that you support,” Kaleo explained. “Politics affects everything. If you want healthcare, that’s politics. If you want affordable college, that’s politics. If you want clean air and water, that’s politics. Politics affects every aspect of our lives, so it’s important for people to have the opportunity to make that change at the ballot box.”

In setting up this registration drive, we wanted to allow CB students to take advantage of their opportunity to vote. But of course, registering or pre-registering to vote is only the first step. Now it is up to those students to research candidates and issues so that they can make informed decisions for the upcoming election.

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