Since being established in 2018, the Vote16 club at Culver City High School has worked to build support for lowering the voting age to 16 in Culver City elections.
And four years later, their efforts may soon be rewarded. Culver City voters will officially vote in the Nov. 8 election on Measure VY (Votes for Youth), which if adopted, would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote on ballot measures and City and School District candidates in future elections.
Vote16 is run by Co-Presidents Ada Meighan-Thiel and Ava Frans, both of whom have been involved in the club since their freshman years in 2019. Through their ongoing mission to help lower the voting age to 16 in Culver City elections, they hope to create “a generation of habitual voters.”
“We believe that by lowering the voting age, values of democratic participation will be instilled in our youth from a young age,” Meighan-Thiel said. “It’s not just about how they’re voting as 16 and 17-year-olds, but also how they’re voting as adults and more active and engaged members of our society.”
The goal to get Measure VY on the Nov. 8 ballot has been a long time coming. In late March 2020, Culver City Council was initially scheduled to vote on the ballot measure, which if approved would have placed it on the ballot. However, as the pandemic hit two weeks before the vote, the process was delayed, taking another two years before the measure would be re-approved for a City Council vote.
But since officially being approved for the upcoming election, Vote16 has hit the ground running on campaigning for Yes on Measure VY. The club canvasses three times a week, which involves directly knocking on doors to spread the word about the measure. Vote 16 is offering volunteer hours for any Culver City student interested in participating, regardless of experience.
“It’s quite easy once you get the hang of it and we’d love to have any student that wants to commit a couple of hours of their weekend to help spread the word,” Frans said.
Vote16 has also held voter registration drives and holds a forum annually with KidScoopMedia to interview city council and school board members on local issues. All of these efforts have not only helped in their goal to campaign for Measure VY, but also “enfranchise people and spread voting rights and civic engagement,” Frans said.
And with election day around the corner, Meighan-Thiel and Frans stress the importance of voting Yes on Measure VY.
“I think Culver City has a really unique opportunity to become a national leader in youth civic engagement,” Meighan-Thiel said. “We hope that by voting Yes on Measure VY on November 8, we will do just that.”