Letters to the Editor: Yes, young people care. Here’s how to make them vote too
To the editor: Your article on youth voter turnout raises a crucial question — is it apathy or anxiety keeping young people from the polls?
For Californians across generations, voting is both empowering and daunting, and hidden barriers — including lack of information on candidates, not knowing where or how to vote, and not connecting with politicians — pose particular challenges to young voters.
As the chief executive of a young women’s political network, I talk to Gen Z voters every day. Many of them don’t see themselves as political. But in reality, they care deeply about the issues; they just don’t know where to start when it comes to voting.
We must empower young people to feel confident in their ballot selections by providing them with comprehensive, digestible information on voter registration and action items. Just last month, my organization announced a partnership with San Francisco officials to register students to vote, and I hope to see more cities follow suit.
Young people want to be politically engaged; we just need to give them the tools.
Sara Guillermo, Oakland
The writer is chief executive of the group Ignite.
To the editor: Young adults unprepared to vote is a key reason to expand the voting age to 16. This will instill a value of democratic participation in youth and raise a generation of habitual voters.
Yes, turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds is lackluster. However, in Takoma Park, Md., the first U.S. city to lower its voting age for local elections, 16- and 17-year-olds routinely vote at a higher rate than adults.
Additionally, one of the most important factors affecting turnout is the social environment where a person votes for the first time. There’s an advantage to voting comfortably at home rather than at college in new surroundings.
Speaking as a high schooler, I know my peers and I are affected by political issues. By enfranchising us, civic engagement will be encouraged.
Let’s expand the voting age starting with local elections, just as Berkeley and Oakland have done and Culver City will vote on this November.
Ada Meighan-Thiel, Culver City
To the editor: To all those young voters who are hesitant to actually vote because they feel they don’t know enough — you are surrounded by millions of your fellow citizens who have no hesitation about voting even though they either know nothing or what they know is wrong.
Please don’t sit it out while voters who think COVID-19 is a hoax and JFK Jr. is alive show up.
Paul Giorgi, Glendale