More Than 100,000 Teenagers Have Preregistered To Vote In California

High schoolers are ready to take their voices to the polls.

Two weeks after high school students mobilized thousands for the March for Our Lives, the next generation is once again proving they will be a political force to be reckoned with. A statewide campaign to preregister teenage voters in California has successfully enrolled more than 100,000 16- and 17-year-olds, it was announced Friday. The program is part of a larger effort by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla's office to promote civic engagement amongst high school students. 

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Through the program, which started in September 2016, an individual's voter registration will automatically be activated when he or she turns 18. The 100,000 who already registered include Democrats and Republicans, as well as a handful of Green, Libertarian, and independent voters. A plurality — 43 percent — registered with no party affiliation. 

"We are seeing the impact that young people can have when they stand up and engage," Padilla said in a statement. "As Secretary of State, I want to do all we can to encourage civic engagement among our youth."

State officials reported that more than 10 percent of total registrations have come in the past few weeks with a noticeable increase after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. in February and the subsequent national protests. Padilla's office is hoping to capitalize on this momentum with the launch of a new website that aims to help young people get more politically engaged and a new voter registration card that is cleaner and easier to understand. 

While young people traditionally have had the lowest election turnout of any age group, voter turnout amongst millennials increased by 3 percent in the 2016 election, compared to 2012. A study from Duke University in 2014 found that in states that have preregistration laws tend to also see an increase in younger voter turnout.  

"There is no doubt in our minds that young people across California are ready to take their power to the polls," Luis Sanchez co-executive director of Mobilize the Immigrant Vote/Yvote, said in the statement. "We support these courageous young people and stand ready to flex their collective power at the polls in 2018 and beyond."

Cover image via   Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock
(H/T HuffPost)

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