Gunn High School senior Aaron Schultz will celebrate his 18th birthday on Nov. 8 this year, making him Palo Alto's youngest voter in this year's election. Because California citizens are allowed to register before their 18th birthday, Schultz did so over the summer.
According to Schultz, he did not discover until recently that he would be able to vote in the election.
"For awhile I thought Nov. 8 could not possibly be the first Tuesday in November," Schultz said, referring to when Election Day is held (the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November). "One day I wanted to know what Election Day would be, and I realized it was actually my birthday. It was unexpected."
While most of his time is spent participating in sports, band and robotics, Schultz is taking time to follow the presidential race in an effort to be an informed voter.
"This presidential race seems pretty ridiculous. I find it odd how the majority of the campaigning seems to be about smearing your opponent rather than focusing on your own pros," Schultz said.
"I am trying to keep up with politics more now because I had not been following it much in the past few years, and since I was in eighth grade for the last election I do not have much to compare this one to."
In order to keep up to date with the election issues, Schultz said he is reading online news articles from sources like the Washington Post, CNN and the San Jose Mercury News. Schultz has also been watching parts of the presidential debates.
While he said he has not been paying as much attention to local races for school board and city council as he thinks he should, he does plan to vote further down the ballot.
"I think everybody has a duty to vote. If you want to have an opinion on how the country is run then you need to participate in your opportunity to influence it," Schultz said.
"I would vote in the first election I was eligible for, but I definitely think this one is more special to me because it is also on my 18th birthday. It is one of my first adult rights I will get to exercise."
Many of his classmates at Gunn will not be old enough to vote in this year's election but Schultz is looking forward to having his say. He plans to mark the occasion by going to cast his ballot at his local polling station with a friend rather than voting by mail.