On the lookout for a few good 18 year olds | SierraSun.com

On the lookout for a few good 18 year olds

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunTahoe Truckee High School student Michael Larson takes a voter registration form from Andrea Cannon, while Gabe Cooper (in back) searches for 18 year olds.

In the dizzying swarm of teens heading to their Truckee High classes between first and second period on Wednesday, Andrea Cannon tried to chase down a certain type of student.

Standing at a table in the entrance way of the school, the freshman shouts “Are you 18?” and “When will you be 18?”

With voter registration forms in hand, Cannon feels she has a personal stake in whether or not her peers vote on March 8.

Measure A ” a seven-year, $98 parcel tax ” will be up for renewal. The initiative provides roughly $3 million in programs for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District each year.

“Because it’s the kids who are freshmen like me, we still need to have our AP (advanced placement) classes at the high school,” she said.

“If this measure doesn’t pass …” she continued, shaking her head “… it’s really important for us to still have these classes.”

At the table, most 18 year olds grabbed a voter registration form and promised to return it filled out the next day. A few 18 year olds said they didn’t need a form because they don’t intend to vote.

Michael Larson, a senior at Truckee High who will turn 18 just four days before the election, picked up a registration form from the table.

“I heard about this yesterday. I thought I’d pick one up. I don’t see why not to (vote),” he said, rushing off to class.

According to statistics from the Youth Vote Coalition, most teens Larson’s age won’t vote. In the 2000 U.S. Census, 30 percent of teens 18 to 19 reported that they voted since they turned 18.

With statistics like these in mind, four Truckee High students started a club last year to take action and encourage the youth vote. Today, that club ” called Youth Advocacy in Politics (YAP) ” has 30 registered members at Truckee High.

“We started the club because there was a need for the youth voice to get out, especially with the last election,” said founding member Gabe Cooper.

Part of YAP’s mission is to register students to vote. For the Measure A election, the students have worked phone banks to encourage people in the community to vote for the initiative.

Patti McCaffrey is the advisor for YAP and a government teacher at Truckee High. She has done her share to encourage her 18-year-old students to vote, and the teens have responded fairly well, she said.

Her students in YAP have taken an especially strong interest in the upcoming election.

“These are local issues, and they have been very participatory,” she said. “It’s been the first thing they’ve been really able to sink their teeth into.”

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