Rock the Vote, the nonpartisan group that powered voter registration for the March for Our Lives, today released the 2018 California Voter Guide, a new tool to get the thousands of new voters informed and prepared for the polls this year.
Since the mass demonstration for gun reform on March 24, Rock the Vote has facilitated an influx of online voter registration with state agencies and third parties. In California, weekly pre-registrations tripled after the March, according to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
Rock the Vote is launching an issue-driven decision-making guide to the California ballot today to turn these new voters out at both the primary and general elections June 5 and November 6, respectively.
“Issues like gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, and climate change are far more important to young voters than any one candidate,” said Jen Tolentino, director of policy and civic technology at Rock the Vote. “Young Californians have an incredible opportunity for impact this year. We’re ensuring that each and every person, especially new voters, have the freedom to vote and the tools to elect candidates who will act for our future.”
The California guide is the first in a series of state guides to launch for the 2018 midterms. It will be the first statewide election since the state implemented pre-registration to vote for 16 and 17-year-olds in September 2016, with over 120,000 teenagers having pre-registered since then. More than 50,000 are now voters. This swell is a sign that young people might make good on their potential to be the largest voting bloc in California, especially compared to 2014 where only 7.8 percent of eligible 18–24-year-olds voted in the general election, a record low.
“It’s important for me to participate in the election because I know the power I hold. Voting is important to me because we have to fight for our reproductive rights, fight for gun control, fight for immigrants, and fight for people of color,” said Zeyna Faucette, an 18-year-old student at Hamilton High School who registered after the February mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. “I want to vote because I want a say in what happens to me. I want elected officials that will protect the rights of all and keep our communities safe.”
The youth vote could have a decisive impact on eight congressional races in California, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning And Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University.
The guide will include responses to issue-based questions from state-wide candidates, and complete down-ballot information, including ballot measures. It also includes information on early voting, absentee and vote-by-mail requests, and election-day polling place information.
The Voter Guide was developed in collaboration with various California based organizations: ACLU California, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and more.
About Rock the Vote:
Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to building the political power of young people. For over 25 years, Rock the Vote has revolutionized the way we use pop culture, music, art and technology to engage young people in politics, registering and turning out millions of young voters on campuses, in communities, and online. Learn more at rockthevote.org and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @rockthevote.