San Jose

Push is On for Young Voters to Participate in Primary Elections

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The California primary election is not until June 7, but the rush is already on to get people to the polls. 

Students at Notre Dame High School in San Jose gather during lunch time to talk about elections, even though they’re too young to vote.

“School isn’t just about academics. It's also about being prepared for the world,” said Elena Jimenez of League of Young Women Voters. “So I think it’s really important to keep normalizing voting.” 

The student club works with the county registrar to promote elections and voter registration. Some students will even work the polls during the upcoming primary.

“I’m asking them to get out and get active,” said Blanca Alvarado, former San Jose vice mayor.  

Youth involvement is what Alvarado likes to see. She was the first Latina elected to the San Jose City Council, and is still as fiery as she was back in the 1980s. Alvarado remains passionate about the youth.

“Their future is so imperiled. I’ve lived a long time. I’m on my way out. But people like the younger generation have to be the pillars of strength and support for the future democracy of our country,” Alvarado said. 

She spoke at a rally by the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley, donning Rosie the Riveter outfits Tuesday. The group is pushing San Jose’s Measure B, which would align mayoral elections with the presidential elections.

The group feels that will increase turnout for young and minority voters. 

“How important is this upcoming election for all of us? The time is now, to vote,” said Gabby Chavez-Lopez of the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley. “To act, to vote. To say yes to Measure B. Make our democracies stronger by having more of our voices at the table.” 

Even though early voting is already underway, foot traffic was slow Tuesday at the Registrar of Voters office.

The hope is more people will take advantage of the right to vote, something some see as a real privilege.

“I’m looking forward to when I turn 18,” Jimenez said.

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