Bay Area

Plan Your Vote: Young, First-Time Voters Get Experience Unlike Any Other

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First-time voters are having an experience unlike any other with this historic election.

California has 2.7 million registered voters who will be between ages 18 and 25 on Election Day, according to the secretary of state, maybe more as more registrations are processed. Some of them will be voting for the first time.

NBC Bay Area talked with young voters to see what issues are energizing them to cast their ballots and heard from older voters who have advice about heading to the polls.

The rate of these young voters in the Bay Area ranges from 10% in San Francisco, the lowest, to 13 % in Santa Clara County, according to the state records as of Sept. 4.

Young voters who spoke with NBC Bay Area say they consider climate change and social change, along with who leads their local communities, as the main issues that drive them to the polls.

Omar Maklaf of Livermore: "I think that’s where I’d see the biggest impact is in my local community."

Jeremy Garcia of San Francisco: "It felt like taking the SATs, but at the same time, I didn’t worry about getting anything wrong because it was my opinion."

According to the youth voting initiative Next-Gen America, young voters tend to vote later and in person, which will be a different experience this year because of the pandemic. But more seasoned voters urge them to vote anyway:

One experienced voter says: "No matter how insignificant you feel, you better get in there and vote because your vote does matter."

Another longtime voter: "Get involved, be active, vote early if possible, and tell your friends."

Remember, ballots must be dropped off or postmarked by Tuesday.

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