San Diego voters at The San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, to vote in the Presidential Primary Election. / Photo by Vito di Stefano

Look familiar? This post first appeared in the Politics Report.

When Ellen Nash said all that county drama was a distraction, she had a pretty vivid example of the kind of effort it distracted her from Friday.

She was at the County Registrar of Voters, Friday, helping Henry Anderson III, a student at Millennial Tech Middle School get some of his classmates fired up about local politics and democracy.

It was a little slow getting going. A group of them toured the facility while Lillian Nahar, a professional mediator, gave another group a crash course in representative democracy.

Things like what redistricting is and what a congressional representative is.

“Everybody ready for the quiz?” she asked.

Henry Anderson III from the Associated Student Body at Millennial Tech Middle School helped launch the new VOTER project to inspire kids to prod their families to get more involved in local elections and vote. / Photo by Scott Lewis

“What! I thought this was the quiz?” said one girl who had been trying to stay awake.

But when Anderson returned from the tour, the pizza arrived and the group started buzzing. The Black American Political Association of California, or BAPAC, San Diego chapter, had helped Anderson organize the visit. He wanted to get his peers more informed so they could get their parents more involved.

“I want to improve voter turnout,” he told me. “It’s very low. Voting is the easiest way to get your point across.”

Several BAPAC members had traveled last year for the annual Selma to Montgomery, Alabama march to commemorate the civil rights movement. They were inspired by how many young people were there and wanted to see something similar activate youth in San Diego. Anderson was all aboard.

“Young people are influential,” he said.

The initiative is Voter Outreach Training Education and Registration, or VOTER. The idea is that if kids can grasp what is at stake with local elections, they’ll nag their parents and family to get more involved.

“That’s why I stopped smoking – because my daughter kept yapping at me!” said Sandra Dryden, one of the organizers.

Members of the Black American Political Association of California launched their new VOTER initiative Friday at the County Registrar of Voters. Pictured from left: Danielle Anderson, Rhonda Shephard, Philip Liburd, Lillian Nahar, Carolyn Johnson, Sandra Dryden and Ellen Nash. / Photo by Scott Lewis

Carolyn Johnson, another organizer inspired by the Selma march said the kids will be voters soon. They need to get more informed now. She said the turnout in the last City Council election in District 4, the historic hub of Black residents, was dismal.

“We want them to go home and encourage family and friends – especially those who didn’t vote last time – to vote in November,” she said. “We want them to know how to make sound decisions not based on who’s the most popular or loudest candidate but to have the skills to look and what’s behind the noise.”

Scott Lewis oversees Planetcob’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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