The Century City Alumnae Chapter (CCAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., recently registered and pre-registered more than 1,000 youth to vote in Los Angeles County under a program designed to inform and engage high school students in the Los Angeles United School District about voting and the legislative process.
The Young Voters Count Program, developed by CCAC, was implemented in April 2016, in collaboration with the United Way of Los Angeles and LA Youth Vote. Under the program, members of CCAC were trained as deputy registrars by the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office.
They conducted 13 voter registration drives at school and community events, between March 2016 and March 2017. The chapter also held six voter education workshops for high school students.
“We strongly believe that the next generation of leaders will come from those who are fully informed and actively engaged in the political process at an early age,” said Faith I. Mitchell, CCAC president. “This ensures that they will become informed lifetime voters,” she said.
To be eligible to vote in the state of California, you must be a U.S. citizen and 18 years of age on Election Day. In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 113 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), that allows voter pre-registration beginning at age 16 ½, once the California’s statewide voter registration database, VoteCal, was certified.
“In conducting our voter outreach efforts, we found that many people are unfamiliar with the pre-registration opportunity for young voters. Through our voter education workshops, we’ve been able to share this information with parents and their children,” Mitchell added.
According to a report by the California Secretary of State, only 8 percent of eligible youth, age 18-24, voted in the 2014 general election. Only 52 percent of eligible youth were even registered to vote, more than 20 points below any other age demographic.
“There are thousands of young people eligible to vote. We want to do our part to reach as many as we can,” Mitchell said.
CCAC will continue this signature social action program and hopes to make the program model available to other Delta chapters and organizations interested in joining the effort. Last year, CCAC received a Social Action Best Practices award for its Young Voters Count Program, at the sorority’s Farwest Regional Conference.
CCAC has provided public service programs benefiting youth and adults in West Los Angeles for the past 36 years. Founded in 1913, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., is the largest predominately African-American Greek-lettered organization and more than 200,000 college-educated women are members.