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Hundreds of LAUSD high schoolers to cast their first ballots at this week’s ‘Ready to Vote Party’

Esmeralda Fabián Romero | October 22, 2018

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(Photo: Power California Facebook page)

This is the first year that early voting centers are open in California, and a group that is working to reach every young adult in Los Angeles County — and 100,000 throughout the state — is holding an early-vote party Wednesday that will draw hundreds of Los Angeles high schoolers.

Students from seven LA high schools will be part of about 400 young people who are already registered and pre-registered to vote in the upcoming elections who will cast their ballots at the event. Key races that will affect education in California are for governor and state superintendent of public instruction.

The “Ready To Vote Party” is hosted by Power California in partnership with LA Unified and the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office in Norwalk, where the event will take place. Students will hear from community leaders, including LA Unified’s board President Mónica García. There will also be mobile game centers, art-making stations and voter education activities for the students before and after they cast their ballots.

LA Unified is promoting civic engagement and get-out-the-vote efforts outlined in a school board resolution that also declared a High School Voter Registration Day last month when students were able to pre-register and register to vote in the midterms. Since 2015, 16- and 17-year-olds in California have been able to pre-register to vote, and a new law this year automatically registers teens 16 and up to vote when they get their driver’s license or state ID card.

The event is part of the efforts of Power California, a statewide civic engagement organization, to mobilize young voters of color ahead of the midterm elections. In partnership with other community organizations across the state, it aims to reach 100,000 youth in California this fall, including all 52,000 young people ages 18 to 24 in Los Angeles County.

“We’re pretty excited because almost two-thirds of them will vote for the first time this November. We will be calling every young person in LA and Orange County, the Central Valley and Riverside. And we’re going to do it!” said Luis Sanchez, co-founder of Power California.

This year, with funding from The California Endowment, Power California commissioned a survey of more than 2,000 young people of color in the state between the ages of 16 and 24 about their civic engagement. The survey results show that 72 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they will “definitely” vote in November, and 82 percent said that voting makes a difference.

According to the organization, studies show that if young people vote in two consecutive elections, they are more likely to become voters for life.

The issues that matter the most to them are immigration, housing, the environment and education, the survey found. Half the respondents consider themselves part of the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ Equality, and Undocumented and Unafraid social movements.  

LA County will open early vote centers at 10 locations for the next two weekends.

6 things to know about the early voting centers:

  1. You don’t need to bring anything with you, but bringing your sample ballot booklet is recommended.
  2. There is no restriction on where to go, you can visit any weekend early voting site.
  3. These locations are also drop-off locations. If you already have your Vote by Mail ballot, you do not need to wait in line.
  4. You will fill in your selections on a Vote by Mail ballot.
  5. If you are in line before 4 p.m., you will be able to vote.
  6. If you missed the registration deadline for this election, you will still be able to cast a provisional ballot.

About the Ready to Vote Party:

When: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: LA County Registrar’s Office, 12400 Imperial Hwy., Norwalk

• Read more: 

Unleashing the youth vote: Power California’s Luis Sanchez is bringing 25 years’ experience mobilizing young people to the polls this November — along with thousands of new voters

Education is a critical area for Latino voters to exert influence as immigration furor fuels newfound political activism, experts say

‘You do have a voice, and your voice matters’ — Latino parents and students in Los Angeles are encouraged to participate in upcoming elections


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