By IONA BATCHELDER
On Thursday, October 1, the Youth Action Team (YAT) and the Junior State of America (JSA) partnered together during office hours and snack to register eligible UHS students as voters. YAT has participated in voter registration of UHS students for the past few years. Anyone can volunteer to register voters; a city clerk came to one of YAT’s meetings and explained the registration process to present members.
Unlike previous years, YAT only registered voters on Thursday instead of Wednesday and Thursday; this was due to a miscommunication between YAT and JSA. YAT representatives said that there would be another voter registration day on UHS’s campus in the spring. When asked if she thought the loss of Wednesday impacted the number of expected registrars, YAT member Kriti Agrawal (Sr.) said that she did not think so “because people are still welcome to register online on the city registrar’s website (www.ocvote.com).” YAT member Sophia Bajak (Jr.) said that she guessed about 50 people signed up to vote compared with about 150 in past years. When asked about the importance of voting, Agrawal said that “it is important to vote because as teenagers we feel as though our voice is not heard; however, we are not taking the time to vote.” She went on to say that “the 18-25 age group has some of the lowest voter turnouts and we need to take this opportunity to express our opinions as well so that we can be satisfied with the decisions that our lawmakers are making.” Bajak added that “it’s really important to fight apathy at a young age so it doesn’t become a routine.” UHS students registered to vote for many different reasons.
Andyshea Afouni (Sr.) said, “I’ve been an individual for so long now I think it’s time for me to become independent from my parents’ views and start voting.” Jerin Tomy (Sr.) said he registered to vote because he is “very interested in politics and what’s best for Irvine.” Sydney Mariano (Sr.) registered to vote because “it takes a long time to process registration when you’re 18” and because she wanted “to know what it feels like to vote.” The voter registration program at UHS was once again a success and many seniors (and some juniors) signed up to vote.
Ozan Erdal (Jr.) said, “I think it’s incredible that students can register to vote at school. Although I myself am not old enough to vote, this registration day really shows that the community encourages young people to be involved in the political process.” The midterm election is on November 4th of this year and the next presidential election is on November 1, 2016.