Inspired to Vote

How a senior’s voter registration drive helped promote political engagement



As a result of the drive, 70 Bishop’s students registered to vote, and 96 signed pledges to vote in the midterm election.

Clare Malhotra, Editor-in-Chief

In 2020, just 50% of people aged 18-29 turned up to vote in the presidential election, clearly indicating a lack of political engagement among today’s youth. “If only 50% of young people cared to vote in what was arguably the most important election of the 21st century thus far, how many do you think are showing up for a midterm?” Senior Marianna Pecora pointed out.

Voter turnout is often extremely low for young voters, particularly in midterm elections. (Vidigami)

In order to raise awareness and promote voter involvement amongst Bishop’s upperclassmen, she decided to hold a voter registration drive on campus from Monday, April 18th to Friday, April 22nd. They also sent out an online link on Tuesday, April 26th, for any students who were unable to register the previous week to register online. With just a Social Security Number or a California State ID number, students could register or pre-register to vote, depending on their age. Many also signed pledges to vote in the upcoming midterm election. 

“In midterm elections like this one, turnout is incredibly low and a lot of people feel that the elections are less important,” Marianna said. “In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.” She went on to explain that the ballot will contain important local, state, House, and California Senate candidates this year. Various sources, including The New York Times and the Council on Foreign Relations, have created online resources to help inexperienced voters decide on their stance. A recent Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) lesson was aimed to fix this same problem of lower voter involvement and education about political issues, as students had a discussion about the importance of using one’s voice. 

“Many people know that you can pre-register,” Senior Miller Watson, a student who worked on the drive, said. “[But] not a lot of people know how to do it or when they should.”

Ensuring that sixteen and seventeen year olds are pre-registered helps to get them thinking about the process of voting early. Ensuring that eighteen year olds are fully registered helps make the process of voting much simpler and can help instill dedication to political engagement. “When most people are turning 18, they’re…potentially moving to a different state for college, and [dealing with] a bunch of other destabilizing factors that make it difficult to vote or even just to remember to register,” Marianna said, explaining that she wanted to give students both the tools and the urge to express their voices. 

Another student at the school drive, Senior Belen Suros, noted that she was also a poll worker during the 2020 primaries for the presidential election. “I [pre]-registered basically as soon as I was able to, but I wasn’t able to actually vote until this past February,” Belen explained. “I’m definitely going to vote in the upcoming midterm elections—voting is so important—and I’m looking forward to it!”

As a result of the drive at Bishop’s, 70 students registered and pre-registered to vote, and 96 signed pledges to vote in the midterm election. “I think that this event was amazing for voter engagement because it brought a lot of information to people that wouldn’t have learned about it before,” Miller noted.

Marianna also cited research that explained that people who vote in their first three eligible elections will more likely continue to vote for the rest of their life. “While it’s a bit presumptuous to assume every voter I helped register will vote in every election forever, I’d like to think I helped students make their civic duties a little bit easier,” Marianna said. “[Hopefully], they’ll be a little more likely to show up to the polls this June and November.”