Claremont High School Students play an integral role in history by voting in the 2020 election, turning point in American democracy


Maya Garcia

Vote For A Better Place

The year 2020 has been a series of many unfortunate events, with everything from the COVID-19 outbreak and the initiation of quarantine and the fires raging across the West coast, to what seems like a never-ending stream of police brutality, violence, and discrimination. But with an upcoming election that the country has been desperately waiting on for the past four years only about a month away, change could be stirring. Out of hundreds of Claremont High School seniors, 141 students—24% of the senior class—will be 18 before November 3, also known as Election Day. With this newfound legal ability to vote, many CHS seniors have the opportunity to take part in an important historical election. For some of them, this represents independence and coming of age; for others a new sense of responsibility; and for all, the ability to truly participate in American democracy for the first time.

“I believe that voting is a citizen’s most valuable right,” senior Brianna Garza said. “It is our voice within America. Our leaders are the big decision-makers, and I feel honored to have that voice.”

This election is thought to be one of the most important in recent history, because Supreme Court justice appointments, the future of climate change, women’s reproductive rights, the fight against police brutality, and longstanding issues of racial equality depend on it; and if young people like Garza want their voices to be heard as well, they should put themselves out there and vote. Although it may be surprising, young voters (people between the ages of 18-29) are one of the smallest demographics of voters. In the last US election (2016), slightly over 40% of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 30 actually placed their vote, whereas 57% of voters between the ages of 30-44 voted—and the numbers continue to increase alongside the age of the voters. The age group of people between 18 and 24 makes up about 16% of the United States population. Although any age group matters too much to have less than half of the people within it represented, this particular group needs to be heard more than ever as they segue into adulthood and the workforce, and become responsible for their own tax and insurance payments. Registering to vote is a surprisingly easy process, meaning there is no excuse to not participate.

“18 year-olds definitely [should] vote!” CHS senior Madison Salisbury said. “Go for it. You can’t wait another four years to see what’s going to happen next.”

The registering process in California can be done online or in-person as long as the person applying is 18 years or older, is not currently in prison or on parole of any kind, and is not issued mentally incompetent to vote by any court. Preregistering demands the same requirements, but to pre-register the person must be between the ages of 16 and 17. Applications for registration or pre-registration can be found online on Paper applications are also available to be picked up at any time in any public government-run building, for example, a public library, post office, or a county office.

With the election of 2020 approaching, the country continues to face serious issues like COVID-19, police brutality, and systemic racism. Voters have the power to select the leaders who will help to sort out these problems. No one knows what the rest of 2020 will bring, but almost a quarter of CHS seniors will have a hand in shaping it.