By Chechi Amah ’21
Although many Immaculate Heart students are not of voting age, it is important to consider how a seemingly small gesture can have a massive effect. That’s why teens at IH and across California are pre-registering to vote in record numbers.
So far, over 200,000 teens in the state of California have pre-registered to vote. You can pre-register to vote in California if you are 16 or 17 years old and meet the following requirements:
- You are a United States citizen and a resident of California.
- You are not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony.
- You are not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court.
Pre-registration makes it easier for students to vote once they turn 18. This is especially true if a student is away at college or their 18th birthday falls after the voter registration deadline. Pre-register ahead and you are eligible to vote when you turn 18!
Here are some interesting facts about voting and pre-registration:
- An estimated 50 percent of eligible voters aged 18 to 29 turned up at the polls in the 2016 general election, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
- California is one of 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allows minors to register to vote beginning at 16, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another four states allow pre-registration at age 17.
- California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill allowing it in 2014, but the statewide voter registration database wasn’t certified to receive pre-registrations until fall 2016.
- There are 1,700 high schools in California, and only around 260 of them are in compliance with a state law requiring the school keep somebody on staff in charge of distributing voter registration materials to students.
Want to learn more and pre-register? Link to RegisterToVote.ca.gov.