By Aisha Mohanty and Juliet Becker, Staff Writers
// Although those under 18 may consider themselves useless during the election period, in reality, they are often the catalyst for major political change in various ways. Below are several methods for Acalanes High School students who are unable to vote to get involved in the election.
Use Your Voice on Social Media
Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and other social media platforms serve as one of the best ways to spread information. Even though many Acalanes students cannot vote yet, they can still use their platforms to express their political views throughout the election process and help inform others that can vote.
“I think it’s important for students to use social media for politics because it is the only way we can make an impact. But I think what people forget is that these platforms are critical for great changes like the election because it is so widespread,” sophomore Daphne Wandell said. “We can’t vote, but hopefully, we can educate others on current issues.”
Text or Phone Banking
Text or phone banking might sound intimidating, but it is one of the most effective ways minors can help in this election. Political phone banking is when volunteers in a political campaign reach out to the community and engage with voters. Phone bankers educate people, recruit other volunteers, and try to sway undecided voters.
“It can be hard when you talk to an unknown person, but I feel like I’m making a difference because I’m advocating for my beliefs and helping others form opinions and decisions of their own regarding the election,” junior Victoria Flint said.
Many presidential, senatorial, and congressional candidates have phone banking information on their websites. Anyone can volunteer, and it is a great way for students to support their candidate of choice.
Make Sure that Those Who Can Vote Will
Although most high school students will not be able to vote by election day, many have family members and friends who can. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2016, only 61.4 percent of eligible voters voted. This year, it is important to ensure that your parents, family, friends, older siblings, and any other registered voters participate in the election.
“Voting is a privilege. Because not everyone can vote, it is important that those that can recognize their privilege and apply it when it is needed, like this election,” junior Haven Fraser said.
Sign Up to be a Poll Worker
If you don’t feel comfortable taking action that aligns with a specific candidate and you are over the age of 16, sign up to be a poll worker to ensure the success of the election and contribute to an essential part of our democratic process.
As a poll worker, you can issue ballots, assist voters, and close the polls for payment. However, participation in this process depends on your county, so make sure to do research beforehand.
“Poll working, especially as a student, prevents voting fraud, which we need to secure that we have a reliable outcome for the election. It is a valuable way to learn about our democracy and how the voting process works that students need for later on in their lives,” senior Keily Sarica said.
Supporting a Candidate’s Campaign
Students can also become more involved in the election by exploring internships and volunteer programs, joining organizations that align with their values, and reaching out to groups directly online.
“If there’s a piece of legislation that the candidate either wants to get passed or wants to revoke, they can direct you to make calls, to send letters, to post on social media. It is meant to advocate for or against the legislation, and it is really cool,” senior Arlo Aksu said.
Pre-Register to Vote
Pre-registering to vote prepares youth for when they are eligible to vote. In some states, you can pre-register to vote when you are 16 years old, and other states allow you to cast a primary vote at 17 if you turn 18 by the time election day arrives. To verify, check your state’s website for more information and regulations, and be sure to check your voter registration status before your first election.
“I think pre-registering to vote allows mobility among students and young people, which is the key for lasting change,” senior Jasmine Toni said.
Stay Educated and Active on Election Updates
The best way to choose which candidate to support is by educating yourself on their policies, past decisions, and plans for the presidency. Fortunately, each candidate holds rallies, gives speeches, and regularly updates social media. Additionally, if you are still undecided about who to support, news channels televise the presidential debates and make them easily accessible online.
“Even though the news is stressful, it’s important to know what’s going on. I don’t like watching it, but I have to in order to make decisions politically,” sophomore Kate Carter said.
Every day, news channels give updates on the election, polls, candidates, and current events. For someone interested in educating themselves, it is important to pay attention to these events and updates. Seeking out unbiased sources and fact-checking information is the best way to stay truly informed.