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Getting high school students hooked on voting
The Sierra High group led by instructor Dan Cunial shared their “I will vote because…” message at Monday’s ‘MyVoteOurFuture’ event held at the San Joaquin County Office of Education’s Wentworth Education Center.

Voter turnout in 2020 could reach the highest levels in decades.

That’s the forecast thus far from political strategists based on the midterm elections and the upcoming presidential race – Donald Trump already has his re-election campaign in motion.

Bea Lingenfelter believes the votes from those 18 through 24 will weigh in heavily at the polls.

Locally, she with the League of Women’s Voters, who, along with the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters Office and the San Joaquin County Office of Education collaborated with the first-ever “MyVoteOurFuture” event held Monday at SJCOE’s Wentworth Education Center.

Nine schools from throughout the county participated, including Manteca Unified’s Sierra High, Weston Ranch High and Lathrop High.

“We invited all the schools from the county back in the spring,” Lingenfelter said of the event that was designed to engage in the importance of voting.

She added: “We covered many of the issues such as immigration, gun violence and the environment.”

The “MyVoteOurFuture” event also featured a number of activities for students as well as the opportunity for them to learn how to register their peers to vote during the on-campus voter registration activities.

Some 60 students involved in the Student Leadership Training exercise had a chance to voice their opinions, handwriting their message on the “I will vote because…”

Emily Salazar of Sierra High, for example, shared the message of many: “I matter,” she said.

Ariana Habibi, also from Sierra, wrote: “I won’t rest unspoken.”

Katelynn Le of Weston Ranch said: “I want to see improvement within society – take advantage of my right to vote.”

Lingenfelter described those who participated as being enthusiastic and energized.

“They were engaged in activities that focused on their positive strengths, interests and motivations,” she said.