Photography by Katharine Wilson

Propositions affecting young voters

October 30, 2020

At the upcoming Nov. 3 election there are many propositions that will end up affecting young voters. These are Propositions 16, 18 and 22. Proposition 16 allows universities and government offices to take someone’s race, sex and ethnicity into consideration, for college admissions or job placement respectively. Proposition 18 allows 17 year olds to vote in primaries and special elections if they turn 18 by the general election. Proposition 22 will classify app-based drivers as independent contractors which allows them to have more flexible hours. These can all greatly affect first time voters depending on the outcome of whether or not the propositions pass.

Proposition 16 would reverse the vote that was made in 1996 that made affirmative action illegal. Affirmative action are policies which allow institutions like universities to favor groups of people who have been excluded from some privileges in the past, most commonly used to benefit racial minority groups who have suffered racisim and discrimination. Those in favor of it want to fight against discrimination and allow everyone to have access to the same fair treatment. Back when affirmative action was made illegal California was much less diverse. Now Latinos are nearly 50 percent of the students in state public schools. This proposition would allow schools with larger populations of Latino students to search for teachers of the same background, rather than having mostly white teachers when most of the students are Latino. Those against Proposition 16 believe that it would be a step backwards rather than forwards and that it would be favoring a certain ethnicity, race or gender above the other.  Proposition 16 could change what colleges or jobs young people apply for.

“I do agree with proposition 16 because I believe it will help minorities get into a college. Taking peoples’ race and other factors of the person into consideration will help keep universities from becoming predominantly white. I believe it allows for a greater opportunity for minorities to get a similar opportunity to education as everyone else. I agree as long as they don’t use the race against them such as a private school denying a person access due to their sexuality or other characteristics, but for the majority of proposition 16 I believe it will help create a more diverse community than hinder it,” said senior Isabella Salinas. 

As stated previously, Proposition 18 would allow 17 year olds to vote in primary elections if they turn 18 by the next general election. Primary elections mainly serve to decide what will be on the November election ballot such as choosing the presidential candidate for each political party and narrowing down local elections such as the Riverside mayoral election. At the moment California only allows individuals who are 18 to vote in whatever election it is. Those in favor of Proposition 18 want the number of young voters to increase, and believe they should be able to vote in matters that affect them. In addition to this, being able to vote starting at 17 would help establish a desire to keep voting. However many are against Proposition 18 because it would cost quite a bit of money to get the extra voting materials. There are also many who think that 17 year olds should not be allowed to vote because they are too young and aren’t heavily affected by things such as taxes, which are sometimes voted on in primary and special elections. 

“I think that this proposition is a good idea, and makes sense. This way we can have more young voters for the general election. The people who oppose this proposition simply don’t make much sense. If we can vote at 18 then we should be able to vote at 17. There’s not much difference in our brain development between the two. I do believe 17 year olds should be allowed to vote in the general election because many 17 year olds these days are politically knowledgeable and the younger generation is the one that is going to have to live with the results of the elections,” said sophomore Eshal Naqvi. 

Proposition 22 will protect app-based drivers’ ability to choose their hours and where they work. App-based drivers such as Uber or Lyft often have other jobs or responsibilities such as picking up their kids or working odd hours. This proposition will also give app-based drivers benefits like health care and give them protections. It will also help the vast amount of jobs that were lost due to the COVID-19 crisis and allow people who lost their jobs to pay their bills. The proposition lets many of these app based services continue to be affordable so people can continue to use their services. Although many are against Proposition 22, currently app-based drivers are considered employees but don’t receive minimum wage or benefits. Many want their companies to simply fix these issues instead of allocating more money to pass this proposition. There are also various people who argue that app-based drivers can keep flexible hours as employees rather than contractors. 

“This proposition is really controversial. Apps like Lyft and Uber have poured millions of dollars into advertising this prop which makes me suspicious… I think that contractors choose to work independently from other organizations which would end or decrease the demand for their services. I know someone who might be affected and this proposition has one of the highest funded advertising campaigns so it might be confusing for first time voters,”  said sophomore Kierstyn Cohen. 

There are many propositions that can or will affect first time voters. According to Pew Research Center one out of ten of those who are able to vote will be from Generation Z,  born between 1996 and 2015.  Those in Generation Z are more diverse than generations that have come before it. As Gen Z makes up ten percent of those who are eligible to vote, their vote in this election could have more of an impact than they have ever had.


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