PALM DESERT — A senior at Palm Desert High School is helping fellow classmates register to vote. Matthew Chang will attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. this fall. Still undecided on a focus of study, the youth said possibilities include history and literature, psychology, or neurobiology.
His efforts piqued Uken Report’s curiosity and Chang was tapped for a Q&A.
Question (UR): Are you registered to vote?
Answer (MC): I am pre-registered to vote.
UR: When did you register?
MC: I registered earlier this year, I believe around February.
MC: I was inspired to register to vote from being a part of Youth and Government. Youth and Government is a statewide organization dedicated to integrating politics into the lives of young people. Throughout the year, there are three conferences that over 3,000 students from around California attend. Meeting all these amazing, politically active youth urged me to register to vote and to play a bigger part in the world happening around me.
UR: Are you involved with any political organizations? If so, what? And, why?
MC: Besides Youth and Government, I am a member of the Democrats of the Desert. I am a part of it because I feel that my specific perspective on politics aligns similarly to theirs and having an outlet for political community and assistance is vital.
UR: I understand you started a voter registration drive with your classmates. Is that true? Why?
MC: I did start a voter registration drive among my classmates! I did this because I realized that while many of my classmates liked to discuss politics, they weren’t sure exactly how to register to vote. Due to this, I wanted to encourage students at PDHS to register by having an easily accessible voter registration table at school.
UR: When did you start it?
MC: I started it in the first week of May.
UR: How many have you registered to vote since you started?
MC: We registered about 35 people the first voter registration day we had, and helped other clubs to register voters at events such as school walkouts by giving them resources.
UR: What prompted you to become politically active?
MC: I would say for the most part that my experience in Youth and Government prompted me to become politically active.
UR: What role, if any, have the rash of school shootings had on your desire to become politically motivated? Can you explain/elaborate?
MC: While my political motivation began before this surplus of horrible events, these shootings have prompted hundreds of my classmates to speak out by going to walkouts, calling their representatives, and registering to vote. The young people will win.
UR: Do you want to seek political office some day? If so, what office?
MC: Although I believe it is essential to have some political motivation, I most likely will not pursue politics in my future. My goal is to become an actor or journalist.