Student voters: The future of America


Rihanna Samples

Sprinkled with rain, the bright yellow signs lined up on the grass across from Kimball Park demand attention from anyone who passes by. These signs are some of the many different signs littered throughout Ventura County that call attention to the upcoming elections held on Nov. 8 for Ventura City Council and other different measures both locally and statewide. All voters have the responsibility of voting on these highly important matters, but it can be more difficult for voters who have just turned 18 due to their lack of previous experience.

Camilla Lewis, Amber Duhs, and Ruby Jenkins

The 2022 midterm elections are here, and newly 18-year-old students of Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) are preparing to make a somewhat daunting decision: voting. In California, all registered voters at the age of 18 are tasked with educating themselves on propositions and electoral candidates. As they mail in their ballots and their choices are counted, new voters have officially made their first step in California politics. 

Voting may seem like a tedious process, especially to new voters, but this infographic outlines the most important steps on the path to easy voting. (Ruby Jenkins)

After the 2020 surge of student voting, which contributing to an overall 14 percent rise in voter turnout, the question remains of whether or not first-time voters in Ventura County are going to carry on the trend through this midterm. The districts up for election during this midterm consist of districts one, four, five and six. Within those four districts, a total of 12 council candidates with ballot designations are running for election. There are also multiple different propositions on the state ballot that first time voters should look out for. 

With 15 million people that have turned 18 since the last presidential election, this new generation of voters have grown up with issues concerning climate change, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and racial inequality — these have made first-time voters more important than ever. Conflicting facts and a surplus of contradictory statements can create misinformation quickly, so the questions remain: Are first time voters well prepared to make an impact on these topics, and is it even on their mind? 

What are Foothill Technology teachers doing to prepare first-time voters? 

While many students are capable of informing themselves about the upcoming midterm election, teachers still make it a priority to get the word out about elections and to make sure that their students have done their research thoroughly. 

In the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD), all government and economy teachers are required to dedicate days to registration and preparation for all elections. With the help of The League of Women Voters of California (LWVC), all students have the opportunity to register or pre-register. This ensures that students are able to participate in voting if they choose to do so. 

When asked if he thinks that new voters are interested in participating in the upcoming election, “I just don’t think … [voting is] on most young people’s radar,” Richard Geib, a college prep American Democracy teacher at Foothill Tech, said. “Between their Snapchat and their TikTok and their text message themes, grown-up things like voting and a democratic process most often don’t have a lot of weight, so I think … more often than not they just don’t care,” Geib explained. 

Meanwhile, Cherie Eulau, an Advanced Placement (AP) United States Government and Politics teacher, has a different approach. When asked about the interest young people have in voting, she responded, “I think issues like climate change particularly motivate [the younger] generation and … I can just sense the frustration that [the younger] generation has with my generation and not having enough has galvanized young voters.” 

Azael De La Torre ‘22, a Foothill Tech graduate and current San Diego State University (SDSU) student, reflected on the support he felt during his time at Foothill as it pertained to voting: “I did feel very much encouraged [to vote], I always had teachers like Eulau, [Wayne] Powers, and [Claire] Adams who always emphasized a lot on the importance to vote.”

While driving down Kimball Road, more colorful signs are spread throughout the grass showcasing some of the many people running for Ventura City Council and other various offices throughout Ventura. Two different candidates who are both running to be the representative of District 5 on Ventura City Council, Bill McReynolds and Marie Lakin, have signs placed close to each other, causing voters to wonder which candidate they should vote for. (Rihanna Samples)

How are first-time voters from Foothill Tech further educating themselves for the election? 

Andrew Victorino ‘23: “Honestly, I type in Proposition ‘x’ into Google and look for a url that ends in ‘.gov.’ I mostly use just because it seems to be what the proposition is affecting and doesn’t throw in biases. … In terms of Governors and Senators, they are pretty clear in their official websites who they are, and what they support. You can go to OpenSecrets to see more details about their financial backings too. In this day and age, it’s pretty easy to find anything; it’s hard to see if it’s biased or not.”

Azael De La Torre ‘22: “I have done my own research as well as analyzing some different opinions on social media and different news articles.”

Lily Jenkins ‘22: “I personally feel well prepared to vote because the topics that are on the current ballot as far as propositions go are ones that I have very strong opinions on. I am primarily using newspaper articles as my source of information on how to vote.”

Why is voting important?

Voting is a key component in getting involved with important topics being debated among society — it is a direct way to make an impact. In fact, getting into politics young can prove to be extremely influential, as it allows one to understand the world around them in more depth and can influence more educated decisions later in life.

Jenkins, a Foothill Tech alumna, stated, “I do think voting is particularly important this year because with everything going on in the world right now, from climate change to abortion, it’s imperative that we exercise our voting power if we want to see change.” It’s evident that many new voters are aware of the weight of their vote.

I grew up with my parents saying that if I didn’t vote, then I couldn’t complain about who was in office.

— Andrew Victorino '23

With activism spreading throughout social media, some may fall into the trap of feeling as though they’ve done enough by just reposting another infographic describing America’s latest tragedy. However, as Americans, the primary way our voices and opinions are heard within the government is through casting our votes. That is why it is more important than ever to make your voice heard and to inform others around you while also encouraging them to vote. From your hometown to your nation, participating in elections is crucial because every vote counts. It’s vital that voters understand that. 

Many changes are being voted on — whether they affect the education in your community or the healthcare for your state, new voters now have an exciting chance to make their voices heard for the first time. Each vote counts, so become knowledgeable about what you’re voting on, why you’re voting on it and the impact your vote can make before mailing in your ballot. Also, always remember that if you’re too young to vote, spreading awareness about important topics and encouraging your peers to participate in politics are other great ways to get involved. If you are of age, don’t take the opportunity to vote for granted, especially since your decisions can affect the outcome of your community and society as a whole. 

For more information on California candidates, visit

For more information on Ventura County candidates, visit

For more information on state propositions, visit

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