Student volunteers will be hosting in-person and online voter-registration drives at high schools in Los Angeles County and in nearly two dozen other states as part of High School Voter Registration Week, a civics organization announced Monday.
In conjunction with the effort, The Civics Center also introduced the L.A. County Future Voter Scorecard Campaign, measuring the effectiveness of school districts in the county in improving low youth voter registration rates.
“High School Voter Education Week brings the focus to the important role educators and students must play in getting young people’s voices heard by helping them register to vote,” Laura W. Brill, the center’s founder and director, said in a statement. “To assist them, we provide training and tools for voter registration drives, and we have launched our Future Voter Scorecard Campaign in Los Angeles and Orange County to show school districts which ones are succeeding and which ones can improve their voter registration and pre-registration efforts.”
According to Census data cited by the center, young people ages 18-24 have the lowest registration and turnout rates for elections. But young people who are registered turn out to vote in presidential elections at high rates, including 86% in November 2020.
The Future Voter Scorecard Campaign ranks student voter registration rates in 53 Los Angeles County school districts that have high schools, based on the number of registered voters who turned 18 in the six months following the November 2020 general election.
Walnut Valley Unified School District and Wiseburn Unified School District ranked first and second on the scorecard, with more than 90% of those turning 18 within six months of election day registered to vote as of July 2021. Claremont Unified School District ranked last with only 20.5% of new 18-year-olds served by that district registered to vote. Los Angeles Unified and Long Beach Unified, the two largest school districts, have fewer than 40% of the new 18-year-olds registered.
Throughout Los Angeles County’s 53 school districts, only eight achieved registration rates above 50% of new 18-year-olds, and only 11.1% of 17-year-olds are pre-registered.
The scorecards are distributed via The Civics Center’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and include a list of suggested areas for improvement for each school district.
The Civics Center collected data from the July 2021 Los Angeles County voter file for youth born between Nov. 4, 2002, and May 3, 2003, and prorated population data from the US Census’ ACS 5-year survey for 15-19 year olds to estimate the percentage of youths residing in each school district registered to vote.
More information on The Civics Center and the Future Voter Scorecard Campaign is available at thecivicscenter.org.
For High School Voter Registration week, hundreds of students and educators attended The Civics Center’s free educational programs teaching states’ registration laws, and how to organize nonpartisan voter registration drives. The organization provided students with “Democracy in a Box” toolkits to help organizers plan, publicize and succeed in registration and pre-registration drives this week.