Politics

Youth organizers lead LAUSD high school voter registration drive

Youth organizers for Kids Over Politics' L.A. chapter gather for a photo to promote the launch of their voter registration drive at Robert F. Kennedy High School.
Youth organizers for Kids Over Politics' L.A. chapter gather for a photo to promote the launch of their voter registration drive at Robert F. Kennedy High School.
Kids Over Politics via Facebook

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and more than 1,200 students eligible to vote in the November election are joining together Tuesday at Robert F. Kennedy High School in L.A. to kick off a registration drive. The effort was organized by the youth group Children Over Politics.

The group is planning a series of voter registration drives in partnership with LAUSD high schools to register seniors that can vote in 2016. 

Members from Children Over Politics will be canvassing the campus and talking to the estimated 1,200 Robert F. Kennedy students eligible to vote. They will also have tables set up where they'll be actively registering students.

The California voter registration form requires basic personal information, a driver's license or ID number, as well as the last four digits of a social security number. To be eligible, a student must be a California resident and U.S. citizen who will be 18 or older by Election Day. They also can't be on parole or on post-release community supervision.  

Children Over Politics co-founder Belle Lopez said theme of the drive is "Embrace Your Power." 

“We want people to embrace the power they have to make a difference, and the power of the vote, and how by voting we can change our communities,” Lopez said.

She said that Sec. Padilla will be speaking to the students about the importance of the youth vote and the power that young people have to bring about change. Members from the LAUSD school board, and Service Employees International Union will also be there.

The registration drive will involve members from Children Over Politics directly engaging with other students to educate them about voting. 

"It's important to vote because it's underestimated how much of a difference it can actually make," Lopez said. 

Future drives at other high schools are in the works, though they haven't yet set dates, Lopez said, though they are hoping to go to different LAUSD schools every other Friday.

In conjunction with the registration drive, Children Over Politics is working to launch a social media campaign, challenging people to record short videos explaining how voting can make a difference in the lives of those they care about.

Here's one submission: 

Embrace your power

Children Over Politics got its start in 2014 after the U.S. saw an influx of unaccompanied minors from South and Central America.

Eight of the founding members members participated in a five-day hunger strike and fundraising campaign in response to the crisis, and today has chapters in L.A., Fresno, San Jose and Oakland.

“We came together and we spoke about why its important for there to be more peace and love towards these issues instead of hate,” said Lopez, who is also a student at Antelope Valley College.

Along with comprehensive immigration reform, the group advocates to mobilize voters around issues of income inequality and racial justice.