MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA – In collaboration with the Mendocino County Elections Department, the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) is supporting a countywide youth voter registration project funded by the League of Women Voters of Mendocino County (LWVMC).
LWVMC Co-President Cindy Plank said, “We want to make voter registration a rite of passage for all students.” The plan is to build on civic education that occurs in schools by engaging high school, community college, and vocational school students in the electoral process—encouraging them to register to vote and teaching them to register their peers.
County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins said, “We want to reach as many students as possible, and in particular, to do what we can to mitigate the widespread disparities in youth voting among Latinos, African Americans and young people with no college experience.”
This non-partisan, grant-funded project will not include support for any political campaigns or specific legislation. Its sole purpose is to encourage students’ civic engagement, initially by increasing voter registration, beginning with seniors in high school.
Specific activities will include outreach to local schools to schedule classroom voter registration presentations, a proven format for maximizing youth participation. Plank said, “We hope to schedule presentations with as many eligible students as possible, especially at-risk, special/inclusive education, and alternative students.” Other activities will include voter registration events and training sessions designed to teach interested students how to become advocates for voter registration among their peers.
The timeline is short. In February, LWVMC volunteers will work with MCOE to schedule classroom presentations and with the County Assessor-Clerk-Recorders office to receive training and compile voter registration information for students. In March and April, they will be in classrooms to reach as many of the approximately 1,000 high school seniors in the county as possible. They will also encourage civics teachers to share voter registration information in the event that a classroom presentation cannot be scheduled. Volunteers will also reach out to students via other means. In May and June, volunteers will assess their success and report back the 2019 Youth Voter Registration Project grant funder.
To learn more about this project and/or to donate, contact Cindy Plank at (707) 357-4282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register to vote, visit VOTE411.org.