By Emerson Brown, Staff Writer
// Since data became available, youth voters have consistently voted the least. Regardless of whether the election is a midterm, primary, or general election, 18 to 29-year-olds always are the least active in elections. Just over 40 percent of young people voted in the 2016 election, compared to about 70 percent of 60-year-olds and older.
Acalanes took steps to combat low youth voter turnout. On Monday, Feb. 5, Associated Student Body (ASB) President Maddie Wilson and Lafayette Partners In Education representative Danielle Gallagher organized a voter registration drive on the senior deck for seniors who are eligible to vote.
The voter registration drive took place during lunch and was on the Senior Deck for easy accessibility to most students. Volunteers handed out the forms necessary for voter registration and helped students fill out the required information.
Leadership hosted an event similar to this previously, but none in the recent election years. The purpose of the drive was to involve students in politics and bolster their voices. The easiest and most tangible way to do so is through voting.
“We wanted to emphasize the importance of voting and get as many seniors registered as we can,” Wilson said.
Students registered for various reasons, but mainly to make their voices heard by the leadership that governs them.
“[I registered to vote] because it is my way of having an impact on the country I live in,” senior Carson Burrill said.
According to Wilson, they handed out about 50 registration forms, and students returned 30 while taking home the remaining 20 for completion. The volunteers will turn the returned forms into the county, and students will then be registered to vote.
In California, the deadline to register is 15 days before any election, and since the primaries and local elections are on Mar. 3, the deadline for registration is Feb. 18.
Though there are no official numbers regarding the number of seniors who vote, Wilson said there is a sense of importance around these elections.
“Most of the seniors, at least most of my friends are voting in the election, especially this upcoming primary because it’s so important and instrumental,” Wilson said.
People tend to direct more attention to the general election, and Burrill said that he would only be voting in the general election.
“I think it will make a lot of seniors realize that voting is coming up a lot sooner than they realize and help get them on track and registered. I think most people are really focused on the presidential election and the primaries and forget they can vote in local Lafayette elections, and hopefully, this encourages them to do that,” Wilson said.
Voting is a right given to participants in a democracy, and Wilson hopes this event will encourage more students to exercise this right.
“Voting is a privilege and a right, but it is also our duty. If we don’t speak for ourselves and give our input, our country won’t be the same,” Burrill said.