Commentary

10/20/2014  by Alexandra Bjerg

Today is final day to register to vote in November election

Listen up young Californians. Today is the last day to register to vote for the November election. While online voter registration has boosted the number of 18-24 year olds added to the voter registration rolls, young people remain underrepresented as a proportion of the state’s overall electorate and participate at a much lower rate than older residents.

A new report released by the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at UC Davis reveals that nearly half of California’s eligible youth, those between the ages of 18-24, aren’t registered to vote. As of September, only 51 percent of all eligible youth are registered to vote for the general election. By comparison, registration rates for every other age group are above 70 percent. Overall, youth comprise 14.5 percent of the state’s eligible voter population, but only 10.2 percent of registered voters. 

Thanks to the launch of online voter registration, it’s never been easier or more convenient to register to vote. You can register on your phone, tablet, or computer in 10 different languages at www.RegisterToVote.ca.gov.  Now that registering to vote is just a few mouse clicks away, what’s your excuse for not joining more than 17 million of your fellow Californians in registering to vote? 

After you’ve registered, don’t forget to vote on November 4th

Turnout in this year’s statewide primary was the lowest in California history, depressed by near complete lack of participation among youth. A mere 18 percent of all eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot. Despite a 6.4 percent increase from the 2010 primary, the report finds that turnout among eligible youth was a paltry 3.7 percent, which means 96 percent of eligible youth sat out the election(!). That’s scarier than any Halloween ghoul or goblin. 

The study also found variation in participation rates across counties, ranging from a high of 25 percent in Alpine to a low of 2.4 percent in Riverside. Only three of the state’s 58 counties experienced youth turnout above 10 percent. The counties with the lowest voter participation rates for young adults, Riverside (2.4 percent), San Bernardino (2.5 percent) and Los Angeles (2.7 percent), also have the largest youth voter populations. 

If you don’t register, you can’t vote. And if you don’t vote, you have little say in selecting the leaders that make policy decisions that impact your daily lives. The health and legitimacy of our representative democracy depends on expanding the electorate to ensure all of California’s diverse voices are heard. Millions of Californians will make their voice heard through the ballot box this year. Will you?

You have until midnight tonight to register to vote or update your registration for the November election. Tick tock, time is running out. Don’t wait, register online now! Then click HERE, to look up nonpartisan information about all the measures and candidates on your ballot and print a cheat sheet with your choices checked to take into the voting booth. Whether you cast your ballot by mail or at the polls on, make you voice heard on Tuesday November 4th.

Categories: Democracy, Civic Engagement, Elections, Californians, Millennials

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