For the editor: Your article on youth voter turnout raises a crucial question: is it apathy or anxiety that keeps young people from voting?
For Californians of all generations, voting is both challenging and intimidating, and the hidden barriers – including lack of information about candidates, not knowing where or how to vote, and lack of contact with politicians – pose particular challenges for young voters.
As the executive director of a young women’s political network, I speak to Gen Z voters every day. Many of them don’t consider themselves political. But in reality, they care deeply about the issues; they just don’t know where to start when it comes to voting.
We need to empower young people to feel confident in their voting choices by providing them with comprehensive, digestible information about voter registration and what action to take. Last month, my organization announced a partnership with officials in San Francisco to register students to vote, and I hope to see more cities follow suit.
Young people want to engage politically; we just have to give them the tools.
Sara Guillermo, Oakland
The writer is managing director of the Ignite group.
For the editor: Young adults unprepared to vote are a key reason for extending the voting age to 16. This will instill a value of democratic participation in young people and elevate a generation of regular voters.
Yes, the participation of 18-29 year olds is lackluster. However, in Takoma Park, Maryland, the first US city to lower its voting age for local elections, 16- and 17-year-olds consistently vote at a higher rate than adults.
Additionally, one of the most important factors affecting turnout is the social environment in which a person first votes. There is an advantage to voting comfortably at home rather than at university in a new environment.
As a high school student, I know my peers and am affected by political issues. By freeing ourselves, civic engagement will be encouraged.
Let’s expand the voting age starting with local elections, just like Berkeley and Oakland did and Culver City will vote in November.
Ada Meighan-Thiel, Culver City
For the editor: To all those young voters who hesitate to vote because they feel they don’t know enough – you are surrounded by millions of your fellow citizens who don’t hesitate to vote even if they don’t know anything or what they know is wrong.
Please don’t sit around while voters who think COVID-19 is a hoax and JFK Jr. is alive show up.
Paul Giorgi, Glendale