News

League of Women Voters launches teen-registration effort

Local chapter aims to register all eligible teens to vote

"This is so exciting!" a teenage girl exclaimed in a classroom at Foothill College on Jan. 11, as volunteers from the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto handed out voter-registration forms for her and about 20 other students to fill out.

The high school students, who attend the Middle College program at Foothill, helped the League of Women Voters get closer to an ambitious goal: to register all eligible Palo Alto teenagers by the 2018 midterm elections -- about 1,500 of them.

Jean Lythcott, voter-services co-director for the local chapter, said volunteers have started going into classrooms at local public and private high schools across the city to talk to teens about the importance of registering to vote.

In an interview, Lythcott said she was unsatisfied with the League's youth outreach in past years, which was mostly limited to visiting Palo Alto and Gunn high schools at lunchtime to talk to students. This fall, volunteers instead spoke directly to Paly students in social studies classes and registered about 300 students. They plan to visit Gunn, Kehillah Jewish High School, Palo Alto Preparatory School, School for Independent Learners and local continuation schools in the coming weeks. Lythcott is also reaching out to special-education teachers, the local homeschooling community and adult schools through which high school dropouts might be obtaining their GED.

"I'm really interested in meeting the teenagers that we can sometimes forget in Palo Alto," she said.

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At Foothill last week, League volunteers walked two classes of high school seniors and juniors through the ins and outs of voter registration, from choosing a party preference (the League is non-partisan, volunteers emphasized) to how it works to vote by mail when students go to college.

Of-age students registered and those who are 16 and 17 years old pre-registered. A handful of students in each class had already registered on their own -- some at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they got their driver's permit or license and others at local libraries or online.

Lythcott emphasized the importance of civic engagement for this age group.

"You are about to join the largest voting population age group in the United States," Lythcott told the students. "The research is saying that your group, if you act as voters, could shape the nation for the next 35 years in the way that the baby boomers did in the '60s."

Karni Beth, a Palo Alto resident, said she planned to register on her 18th birthday in October but didn't get around to it, so she was excited to do so last week. She said it's particularly important for younger voters to get engaged in politics so they can form their own opinions, separate from their parents'.

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Nikki Merkle-Raymond, a 17-year-old Palo Alto resident who follows politics closely, pre-registered during class on Jan. 11. When she's of age, she said, she'll be eager to weigh in on lesser-known issues that often come out in ballot propositions, such as Proposition 60, which would have required the use of condoms in pornographic films.

Merkle-Raymond hopes the registration effort helps her generation, which she described as generally outspoken about social and political issues, follow through on Election Day. Youth turnout was relatively low in the 2016 presidential election: Only half of eligible 18- to 29-year-olds voted, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

"We're very vocal about our beliefs and our ideas, so it gives the impression that we're definitely going to be pretty active in voting ... but then when the day comes, that doesn't actually happen," Merkle-Raymond said.

Beth, for her part, said she plans to vote in the June election.

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League of Women Voters launches teen-registration effort

Local chapter aims to register all eligible teens to vote

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jan 18, 2018, 8:39 am

"This is so exciting!" a teenage girl exclaimed in a classroom at Foothill College on Jan. 11, as volunteers from the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto handed out voter-registration forms for her and about 20 other students to fill out.

The high school students, who attend the Middle College program at Foothill, helped the League of Women Voters get closer to an ambitious goal: to register all eligible Palo Alto teenagers by the 2018 midterm elections -- about 1,500 of them.

Jean Lythcott, voter-services co-director for the local chapter, said volunteers have started going into classrooms at local public and private high schools across the city to talk to teens about the importance of registering to vote.

In an interview, Lythcott said she was unsatisfied with the League's youth outreach in past years, which was mostly limited to visiting Palo Alto and Gunn high schools at lunchtime to talk to students. This fall, volunteers instead spoke directly to Paly students in social studies classes and registered about 300 students. They plan to visit Gunn, Kehillah Jewish High School, Palo Alto Preparatory School, School for Independent Learners and local continuation schools in the coming weeks. Lythcott is also reaching out to special-education teachers, the local homeschooling community and adult schools through which high school dropouts might be obtaining their GED.

"I'm really interested in meeting the teenagers that we can sometimes forget in Palo Alto," she said.

At Foothill last week, League volunteers walked two classes of high school seniors and juniors through the ins and outs of voter registration, from choosing a party preference (the League is non-partisan, volunteers emphasized) to how it works to vote by mail when students go to college.

Of-age students registered and those who are 16 and 17 years old pre-registered. A handful of students in each class had already registered on their own -- some at the Department of Motor Vehicles when they got their driver's permit or license and others at local libraries or online.

Lythcott emphasized the importance of civic engagement for this age group.

"You are about to join the largest voting population age group in the United States," Lythcott told the students. "The research is saying that your group, if you act as voters, could shape the nation for the next 35 years in the way that the baby boomers did in the '60s."

Karni Beth, a Palo Alto resident, said she planned to register on her 18th birthday in October but didn't get around to it, so she was excited to do so last week. She said it's particularly important for younger voters to get engaged in politics so they can form their own opinions, separate from their parents'.

Nikki Merkle-Raymond, a 17-year-old Palo Alto resident who follows politics closely, pre-registered during class on Jan. 11. When she's of age, she said, she'll be eager to weigh in on lesser-known issues that often come out in ballot propositions, such as Proposition 60, which would have required the use of condoms in pornographic films.

Merkle-Raymond hopes the registration effort helps her generation, which she described as generally outspoken about social and political issues, follow through on Election Day. Youth turnout was relatively low in the 2016 presidential election: Only half of eligible 18- to 29-year-olds voted, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.

"We're very vocal about our beliefs and our ideas, so it gives the impression that we're definitely going to be pretty active in voting ... but then when the day comes, that doesn't actually happen," Merkle-Raymond said.

Beth, for her part, said she plans to vote in the June election.

Comments

Carolyn
College Terrace
on Jan 18, 2018 at 10:37 am
Carolyn, College Terrace
on Jan 18, 2018 at 10:37 am
20 people like this

What a great effort by the League of Women Voters. Thank you Jean Lythcott and team for your incredible outreach to our newest group of potential voters!


DTN
Downtown North
on Jan 18, 2018 at 11:28 am
DTN, Downtown North
on Jan 18, 2018 at 11:28 am
10 people like this

Now, if we can just get them to actually vote, they can start taking the country back.


Mike
University South
on Jan 18, 2018 at 8:31 pm
Mike, University South
on Jan 18, 2018 at 8:31 pm
2 people like this

My son's name was spelled incorrectly on his card. How does he fix that?


Alice Smith
Downtown North
on Jan 18, 2018 at 9:36 pm
Alice Smith, Downtown North
on Jan 18, 2018 at 9:36 pm
2 people like this

Reregister or go to the ROV's office and correct. He can also go up on the ROV"s website.

Web Link


and register as a change. Error correction forms available but best to call ROV

] He can call ROV's office Phone: (408) 299-8683


John
Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:32 am
John, Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2018 at 9:32 am
6 people like this

Merely registering to vote or even voting is not nearly enough. Registering can be a start. But unless persons are prepared to campaign against corruption across the state and country, we could end up with Donald Trump as President and members of Congress that support him. Oh. Right. That has already happened. You need not be 18 or a citizen to campaign. You just need to think and act outside the box of the privileged life in Palo Alto and elsewhere in Silicon Valley. Imagine that you could die in a nuclear attack by North Korea. You can. Saturday is a Women's March across the country. Anyone from Palo Alto?


Al Ward
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jan 19, 2018 at 11:04 am
Al Ward, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2018 at 11:04 am
4 people like this

Will someone please explain the benefit of encouraging young people just emerging from childhood to cast ballots. What sensible voting decisions will they make having not yet gained any life experience as an adult?


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2018 at 11:11 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2018 at 11:11 am
1 person likes this

Al Ward

Thank you.

I had my two "young voters" polled about whether they would vote yes for an increase in taxes to pay for various suggested amenities. Of course they both said yes without having any idea how much we pay in property taxes.

Do I really want 18 year olds making the decisions that will affect me more than it will affect them for the next 10 years or so. I would much rather bring back the voting age to 21, at least then they will have had time to discover what it means to balance a check book or perhaps go hungry in order to pay the rent. I would rather a 25+ year old voter who has experienced some of the realities of life make informed voting decisions.


parent
Stanford
on Jan 19, 2018 at 11:12 am
parent, Stanford
on Jan 19, 2018 at 11:12 am
26 people like this

@Al Ward - the results of elections have a huge impact on the lives of young adults. That is why they should educate themselves and vote. LWV is a well respected voter education program.


Al Ward
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jan 19, 2018 at 12:18 pm
Al Ward, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2018 at 12:18 pm
5 people like this

Parent, I agree with you 100% that young people should educate themselves. However imagining that 18 year olds have sufficient adult life experience to make well considered adult decisions is wishful thinking.
My child was age 18 when she graduated from Gunn HS. She was a VERY smart kid.
To think that the vote of such an innocent, inexperienced child should have the same weight as my vote is depressing.


Five Coats
Barron Park
on Jan 19, 2018 at 3:14 pm
Five Coats, Barron Park
on Jan 19, 2018 at 3:14 pm
4 people like this

A parent's role of 18 year olds is to guide and instruct their innocent and inexperienced children on key issues and encourage them to read the materials that come to voters prior to election. Follow up with a family discussion on candidates and measures. Being a good citizen and have a voting voice in their future is paramount in retaining our democracy. Encourage them to follow news from NPR News not Facebook or Twitter. I have voted in every election since age 21 when that was the legal age to vote. A member of the League of Women Voters.


Al Ward
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jan 19, 2018 at 3:38 pm
Al Ward, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2018 at 3:38 pm
2 people like this

Five Coats, how many teenagers have you met? Prior to elections my wife and I spend many, many hours studying the incredibly tedious documents that are provided along with our ballots.
Not even Mary Poppins could induce 10% of teenagers to study those documents to gain indepth understanding of the persons and issues on the ballot.
Perhaps you gathered your idea of parents sitting and having serious discussions of such matters with their children in an Andy Hardy movie.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm
Like this comment

From my experience, most 18 year olds who register to vote while still in high school soon go away to college. The first election for them is often while they are away with the ballot material arriving at their home address and they are registered as vote by mail.

At this stage, they are away from home where they may be able to discuss with parents, away from the area in which they are aware of local issues, and quite possibly never come back home to live even though they are still registered voters.

For these additional reasons, getting young people to vote may not be the best way for getting an informed electorate, particularly for local issues and almost any issue other than voting for the president.


@(So-called) Resident
Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:18 pm
@(So-called) Resident, Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:18 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Five Coats
Barron Park
on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:26 pm
Five Coats, Barron Park
on Jan 19, 2018 at 5:26 pm
12 people like this

There is always time to mail the information to student out of area or state, and if out of state register to vote out of state.
They are just a phone call away for a conversation. Mr. Ward, I'm not as old as Andy Hardy movies, but my father and I sat down and discussed many issues in my teenage years. Give it a try.


Al Ward
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Al Ward, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:00 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


A E
Menlo Park
on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:07 pm
A E, Menlo Park
on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:07 pm
8 people like this

@Al Ward

If you don't want 18 year olds to vote, I take it you are also pushing to stop seniors voting?

After all, they are loosing their mental function, and why should they vote for programs that will continue after they are gone?


Al Ward
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:25 pm
Al Ward, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:25 pm
2 people like this

I did not say that I don't want 18 year olds to vote. I asked a reasonable question . Why is it beneficial to encourage young people just emerging from childhood to vote?
It seems to me that it's possibly beneficial to some 18 year olds to support an unlikely but possible blossoming interest in civic affairs. Is there any other reason that votes pondered on the experiences of childhood would be a benefit to our society?


Voter
Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm
Voter, Menlo Park
on Jan 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm
8 people like this

We send 18-year-olds to fight and die in foreign lands to ostensibly to protect our ability to vote for whom we choose. Shouldn't they have the same right?


Al Ward
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jan 22, 2018 at 4:33 pm
Al Ward, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jan 22, 2018 at 4:33 pm
Like this comment

Of course 18 year olds have the right to vote. That's the law!


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