Mock Election held by Twin Rivers School DistrictApr 08, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Shaun Holkko, assistant editor
Grant Union High School junior Gustavo Esquivel, 17, fills out his ballot during the mock election on Thursday, April 7 in Sacramento.
SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – With the California primary elections quickly approaching in June, Grant Union High School students have begun preparing to vote for the very first time.
California Secretary of State Shirley Nash Weber, Ph.D., visited Grant on Thursday, April 7, to conduct a mock election for students. Weber was joined by the Sacramento County Department of Voter Registration and Elections (VRE).
Weber told members of the local media that this is not the first mock election that has been held in California and that they are starting to see the results of the benefits from holding such an event.
“They’ve had mock elections for a number of years in Sacramento and up and down the state,” Weber said. “We’re beginning to track the numbers now and we’re beginning to see that young people are pre-registering to vote. We’ve already pre-registered over 100,000 young people who are between 16 and 18. That’s why we’re in the schools so that their schools can encourage it, their principals, their social studies teachers can all encourage them to participate.
“They can get civic credit from going out and helping during the day of elections. Because we want to develop it as a habit rather than just something you might do once in a while. It’s to be a part of your responsibility as a citizen.”
Some students at Grant have already turned 18 years old, like senior Jane Cusguen, who plans to vote in the upcoming primaries.
“(Voting) is really important because your voice is expressed, your rights are expressed and you get to choose your opinions and who you want to speak up for you in the government,” Cusguen said. “I believe (the mock election) was really helpful towards people who are stepping into adulthood because it gets them a head start or a viewpoint of what they’re going to end up doing soon.
Most Grant students have not aged into adulthood yet, like 17-year-old junior Gustavo Esquivel.
“It’s important to vote because I feel like it’s up to us in the future,” Esquivel said. “We’re starting to learn how to vote since it’s all up to us later on in the future the older people aren’t going to be able to vote. (The mock election) was nice, it wasn’t hard at all. It was pretty easy to learn how to do it.”
However, not every Grant student felt that the simulation was a breeze.
“I believe it’s a little confusing since most of us are barely starting off,” Cusguen said. “But I believe within time we’ll get more experience and more knowledge on who to vote for so we can make the correct choices. Voting is a really important thing after 18 you pretty much vote your whole life, I mean you have the chance to, so I feel like it’s something you should take care of.”
Weber believes it is key for young people to be aware of voting restrictions that existed in the past and are still prevalent today.
“It’s extremely important that they understand the fact that for years there was voter suppression,” Weber said. “People would create rules and regulations to keep you from going to the polls. People are doing that now in other states and mainly because voting is important and it’s powerful.
“So, we want to make sure students understand that people may try to put up rules and regulations to keep voters from voting, but they still have the right to vote and they should,” Weber continued. “In California we don’t allow those rules to exist, but other states are going back to them now and blocking folks from going to the polls.”