California Secretary of State Alex Padilla at a high school voter registration event in Vacaville in 2016. Photo courtesy Padilla’s office

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla released data showing that 100,000 students aged 16 and 17 have preregistered to vote under a program launched just before the last Presidential election.

The students’ voter registration will automatically be activated when they turn 18.

According to figures released Friday, a total of 5,866 students preregistered in San Diego County, 38 percent as Democrats, 13 percent as Republicans and most of the rest as no party preference. The percentages were similar statewide.

“We are seeing the impact that young people can have when they stand up and engage,” Padilla said. “Since California launched preregistration, 100,000 soon-to-be voters have answered the call to participate in their democracy. As Secretary of State, I want to do all we can to encourage civic engagement among our youth.

Padilla also unveiled a new web portal at HighSchool.sos.ca.gov that he said “will equip young people with the tools they need to get involved, make a difference, and lead.”

On the new website, high school students can learn more about preregistration, find out how to be a student poll worker, get resources to host a mock election, and learn how to organize voter registration drives on their campuses.

Later this month, Padilla will hold a series of rallies and speak to thousands of students about the importance of voter registration and preregistration.

“Registering to vote empowers our students to stand up for what they believe in, and to help build the world they want to inherit,” said Los Angeles Unified School District Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian.

“We are grateful to Secretary of State Alex Padilla for partnering with us and encouraging our 16- and 17-year-old students to take this important first step in the voting process,” she added. “It is incredibly important for our future leaders to exercise their right to vote and ensure their voices are heard.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.