By Macy Jenkins

SACRAMENTO (CBS 13) — More than 100,000 teens in California have pre-registered to vote.

According to the California Secretary of State, roughly 16 percent of them are in the Sacramento region.

The state is looking to keep that momentum going with a big push starting next week to get even more teens to vote.

“If you don’t like the system, you have to fix the system!” said Malissia Bordeaux, a senior at Kennedy High School in Sacramento. “In order to fix the system, you have to work from the inside out.”

Back in 2016, the California Secretary of State gave 16- and 17-year-olds in the option to pre-register to vote. And since then, more than 100,000 teens across the state have signed up.

Teen Preregistration Numbers By County

  • Los Angeles – 26,179
  • Sacramento – 6,782
  • Riverside – 5,912
  • Alameda – 5,011
  • Placer – 3,924
  • San Francisco – 1,657
  • San Joaquin – 1,586
  • Stanislaus – 1,274

“That’s amazing,” said Maggie White, program coordinator for the Sacramento Youth Commission. “It’s exciting to see that youth are so invigorated to be part of the process and the discussion. Not just talking but saying I’m ready to act on what I feel needs to be done.”

Bordeaux told CBS13 she’s committed to helping fellow students recognize how each of them can make a difference.

“How are you going to be my friend and you’re not registered to vote?” she said. “We’re most passionate about things that impact us personally.”

She said she and her peers were hit hard by February’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“Before two months ago, no one has seen that registering to vote actually impacts your daily life.”

According to the Department of Voter Registration, the records for students who preregister are held at a pending status until they turn 18. And on their birthday, they automatically pop up as registered voters.

“It gives them time to read up on the policy, so they have time to educate themselves on what decision they’re going to make when it comes time for them to cast their vote,” White said.

Bordeaux is now turning to younger students during her final weeks at Kennedy, making sure they understand the value of taking their problems to the polling booth.

“It’ll become a complete norm, and everyone will be registered to vote, and it’ll just be something that you’re supposed to do,” Bordeaux said.

Starting next week, Secretary of State Alex Padilla will hold rallies in various high schools and urge even more students to vote as a part of the High School Voter Education Weeks. The state has also launched a High School Civic Engagement website with tips on how young people can get involved in politics.


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