Political Notebook

Alex Padilla urges youth to vote in Visalia visit

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla visited Mt. Whitney High in Visalia on Tuesday to urge students to register to vote.

“How does a democracy work? When the people vote,” he told seniors at an assembly in the gym.

But voter registration rates are especially low among young people, he said.

His words seemed to have the desired effect: between 75 to 100 seniors, some still age 17 but soon to be 18, filled out voter registration forms at tables staffed by volunteers from the Tulare County High School Voter Project and the League of Women Voters.

“I want to vote,” said senior Gunner Santos, 18, who is taking an Advanced Placement government class. “Voting is a way to participate. My vote matters.”

Padilla on Tuesday also attended a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Fresno, and visited students at Fresno State and West Hills College in Lemoore.

Lewis Griswold: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold