In an effort to better reinforce the concept of pre-registering to vote, the secretary of state has launched an online Back-to-School Pre-Registration Toolkit, in accordance with National Voter Registration Month.
“Along with backpacks, new clothes, and school supplies, 16 and 17-year-olds should add pre-registration to their back to school checklists,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.
The idea is that these toolkits (which include downloadable posters and brochures, a PSA video, sample social media posts and informational links) will help school’s better engage with their students on issues of voter registration and being active in their community.
The secretary of state’s pre-registration initiative began in March and has already amassed an impressive 20,000 pre-registrations. The initiative allows 16 and 17-year-olds the ability to fill out a voter registration form. Once they turn 18, they will automatically be registered to vote.
This initiative is critically important to the secretary of state, as the youth (ages 18-25) are one of the largest voting blocks– along with being the most inactive.
For instance, in last year’s presidential campaign more than half (55%) of youth voters decided to stay at home.
It gets even worse on the local level. According to a 2016 Portland State University study, less than 16% of the youth in Los Angeles partook in the Mayoral Election. In San Jose, it was only a little over 23%.
Most of what is voted on, both locally and nationally, has the biggest impact on the youth. So, many ask, why aren’t they voting?
This is the very problem that the secretary of state is hoping to resolve with the pre-registration initiative. The toolkit will play an essential part in initiating direct contact with school officials and students about the importance of partaking in civic responsibilities.
“This is a terrific opportunity for educators to talk with high school students about the critical importance of voting, prepare them to participate in elections, and pre-register online,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson