County targets students in voter-outreach program

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High-school senior students throughout the county are receiving visits from the Placer County Elections Division and the High School Voter Outreach Program. “In my experience, the youth of Placer County care about many issues that face them and their communities,” said Jim McCauley, Placer County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters. “They just need someone to take the time to speak with them, to spark their interest and explain to them that their vote does make a difference.” This program brings local elected officials and political party representatives into contact with young adults through their government classes. In addition to hearing about the importance of voting from the guest speakers, students are able to ask questions about current political and governmental issues, all of which helps them to understand the potential they have to make a difference—if they choose to use it. To fulfill the goal to increase young adult participation in elections, the Placer County Elections Division also helps students fill out Voter Registration Forms and gives them the opportunity to vote with mock ballots on the same voting equipment at polling places. “Since I started this program in 1995, the voter registration and turn-out at the polls with the 18- to 24-year-olds has increased in Placer County, to one of the highest in the state of California,” McCauley said. Since the program began, more than 24,000 high school seniors have registered to vote.