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LAUSD students push to lower voting age to 16 in school district elections




Mónica García (left), president of the Los Angeles Unified School Board, shakes hands with Tyler Okeke, the LAUSD board's non-voting student representative.
Mónica García (left), president of the Los Angeles Unified School Board, shakes hands with Tyler Okeke, the LAUSD board's non-voting student representative.
Kyle Stokes/KPCC

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Students of the Los Angeles Unified School District want the power to vote in their school board elections as soon as they turn 16.

As young activists under the nation’s second-largest school system, LAUSD students have pushed their board to recently approve a resolution directing officials to prepare a report on the feasibility of opening voter eligibility to an additional 60,500 estimated students.

Tyler Okeke, a 17-year-old high school senior at Harbor Prep Teacher Academy in Wilmington, drafted the resolution. He also sits on the board as its student representative.

"Students have a lot to bring to the table," Okeke told LAist. "We've already been contributing. I think it's time to move it up to a civic level."

While the board unanimously approved the resolution, there’s still several steps to get city officials to approve a 2020 ballot measure for the issue.

Supporters say that students are more likely to engage civically through an election that directly affects them, while also helping to prepare them as voters in future elections. Critics are concerned about the influence teachers may wield over their students and say that many students don’t have enough life experience to make informed decisions at this level.

What side are you on? Call us at 866-893-5722 or comment below.

With guest host Kyle Stokes

Guest:

Luis Sánchez, executive director of Power California, a youth civic engagement organization that worked closely with Tyler Okeke to develop and introduce the resolution