Lack of youth participation in local elections


It is shocking to believe that a great majority of college students would stand by and have their government dictate to them as opposed to actually exercising their right to decide for themselves by voting and registering now with the fast approaching registration deadline of Oct. 19 to become registered for this year’s polls.

An estimated 6.6 million citizens are not registered to vote in the state of California.

Of the 42 percent of eligible California voters, a disappointing 8.2 percent of 18-to-24 year olds, better known as the youth vote, bothered to participate during our most recent midterm elections as stated in ‘The New York Times’.

The average socially conscious student is at least aware of major political events such as the race for presidency currently underway.

What students are not hearing about are the hyper local elections that more acutely affect our selves and our community and more specifically our college community.

The Board of Trustees of Citrus College election will be taking place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The B.O.T at Citrus is prime example of how politics directly affect us.

The board makes final decisions about who is hired or fired on campus, the wages student workers are paid, how college budget money is spent and even the curriculum and education plans determining what and how Citrus College students learn.

The board even has the power to determine which programs will continue such as recording arts or nursing and which could cease to exist like the child development center.

With all this considering the character and integrity of the individuals elected to make those decisions is critical in terms of education, campus careers and employment.

If we are truly concerned about issues on campus, ranging from smoking area enforcement to price increases or reductions in student registration fees, we must make it a priority to register and vote for the candidates we feel have our best interest in mind.

In terms of the upcoming B.O.T elections two of the board’s members, Dr. Patricia A. Rasmussen, Area #4 Trustee and Susan M. Keith Area #2 Trustee, sitting comfortably during this year’s elections as they are running unopposed.

This year’s contenders include former Area #1 trustee Gary L. Woods returning in attempts to beat out current Area #5 trustee Joanne Montgomery for her place on the board.

Due to the evidently low participation in local elections there are often times too few perspectives on voter issues in local government.

On a local level, individual votes carry more weight than in national elections where billions cast their ballots as opposed to the maybe hundreds of voters that will locally.

Government officials are calling for more participation in the voting arena by launching initiatives that simplify the process for becoming a registered voter.

DMV’s have placed voter registration on the backs of drivers license and I.D. applications to promote voter participation as well.

The democratic-majority legislature in California has also taken steps toward approving a system of automatic voter registration for citizens who obtain or update a California driver’s license.

One does not have to get out of bed to register to vote. At http://registertovote.ca.gov there is online voter registration for the state of California.

If you do decide to cast your voice in the upcoming local elections time to register is running out.

The eligibility deadline to register to vote in the upcoming local elections such as the Board of Trustees election on Nov. 3 is Oct. 19.

Local politics have a need for additional participation so that the decisions “by the people” are truly a reflection of all Americans including the widely underestimated youth.

We carry an emphasized weight in local elections, but only if we choose to exercise our right to register, educate ourselves, and vote to participate in this movement we call democracy.

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