Welcome to the Secretary of State’s High School and Youth Programs portal. This site contains important information about our office’s initiatives to educate and engage young Californians in the democratic process. We invite administrators, teachers, students and parents to use this page as a resource. This portal includes social media infographics, frequently asked questions and links to get young people informed and involved.
You will find important information about:
Thank you for visiting our Back to School Pre-Registration Toolkit! Along with backpacks, school supplies, and new clothes, 16 and 17 year olds should add pre-registering to vote to their back to school checklist! And this website will help with that.
Our toolkit below contains useful information and social media resources to help spread the word and encourage eligible 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote. We provide access to our new "Our Time is Now" public service announcement (PSA), sample social media posts, and other important resources to educate California students.
Online pre-registration is available for eligible 16 and 17 year olds by visiting registertovote.ca.gov. California youth who pre-register to vote will have their registration become active once they turn 18 years old.
Pre-registration does not change the voting age, which is 18. Instead, it allows eligible Californians ages 16 or 17 to complete the online voter registration form providing sufficient time and opportunity to get ready to vote.
The new online pre-registration applies to California youth who are 16 or 17 and meet the following criteria:
We invite you to view the information below and share it widely with family, friends, neighbors, and students.
The California Education Code designates the last two full weeks in April and September to be High School Voter Education Weeks. This provides an opportunity for high schools and their students to partner with county elections officials to promote civic education and participation on campus and foster an environment that cultivates lifelong voters and active citizens.
Below is a list of resources to assist with the promotion of these High School Voter Education Weeks.
Young people have the potential to be a powerful force in elections, but only if they get involved and make voting a habit.
To encourage students to become active voters once they are old enough to cast a ballot, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond invite high school and middle school students, teachers and principals to participate in the California Student Mock Election, which will take place in Fall 2020, for the Presidential General Election.
Working with the California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and the Constitutional Rights Foundation, in coordination with the MyVoice National Student Mock Election, the Student Mock Election will stir students' interest in voting by tapping into the excitement of the campaign season. As students learn about the candidates and issues, they discover how government and politics affect every part of their lives. They gain firsthand knowledge of how citizens make their voice heard in our democracy, and experience the power of their votes when they are joined by thousands of California students and millions more across the United States who will vote in student mock elections this year.
For further information please visit https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/student-mock-election/, or contact the California Student Mock Election Team at email@example.com or (916) 651-3070.
Starting at age 16, high school students who are U.S. citizens, maintain a 2.5 grade point average, and have permission from their parent or guardian and school can learn how elections are run while they earn money as a student poll worker on Election Day. Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for a stipend ranging from $65 to $150. To find out what it takes to become a student poll worker and how to sign up, contact your county elections office.
To encourage high school students to serve as poll workers, the Secretary of State invites students, teachers, school activities directors and others to post, email or hand out the High School Poll Worker recruitment flyer (PDF).
Thank you for visiting the California Secretary of State’s High School and Youth Initiatives website and for your interest in joining our efforts to increase opportunities for voter registration amongst students across our state.
This guidance will assist you in helping your students learn more about California’s voter registration process. Your students will have varying levels of experience with the electoral process. Some students will come from personal or family backgrounds with an extensive history of civic and electoral engagement while others may not. You play a key role in educating students about the election process and voter registration.
Before asking whether students would like a voter registration form to complete, we recommend that you review with your students the specific criteria required for voter registration. To register to vote in California, you must be:
In walking students through the eligibility requirements, the following guidance may be helpful in addressing questions your students may have:
Other helpful guidance includes the following:
Thank you for your support in increasing voter registration opportunities for students across California.