A joint effort by the local League of Women Voters and the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District led to nearly 600 16- and 17-year-old students pre-registering to vote when they turn 18.

Young people are less frequent voters than their older siblings, parents and grandparents. In November 2020, 80% of Santa Clara County registered voters cast a ballot, but only 30% of those ages 18-36 voted.

California enacted legislation in 2014 allowing the right to pre-register to vote at age 16. Fourteen other states also permit pre-registration at 16.

With support from MVLA principals and teachers, students learned about the power of voting Sept. 27. This was the first year Mountain View High School participated in the League of Women Voters’ outreach efforts.

To support the study of the U.S. Constitution in MVLA U.S. History and Civics/Governmental Studies classes, the League prepared a video for classroom viewing. Former Mountain View High student Abby Longcor narrated and contributed to the content of “Participate in Democracy.”

The effort aims to inspire teens to become part of the democratic process by advocating for a cause that excites them and using their voice even before their vote.

Of the 1,197 students who viewed the video, 597 pre-registered online to vote through sos.ca.gov, the website of California’s Secretary of State.

Prior to the COVID pandemic in 2019, League volunteers spoke directly to classes at Los Altos High and distributed registration forms. With pandemic restrictions, the League adapted to present a livestream class in October 2020 for students at Los Altos and Mountain View highs, followed by online registration. The new 2021 video is the latest version of the campaign.

High school voter pre-registration is part of a countywide League of Women Voters project to encourage local leagues to pre-register students in partnership with their high schools. The Santa Clara County Department of Education provides additional support for the initiative.

For more information, visit lwvlamv.org.