By John Myers
Apr. 6, 2018 – 10:11 a.m.

California’s effort to get 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote has now enlisted 100,000 teenagers, according to information released on Friday by Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

“This is a big milestone,” Padilla said. “I’m optimistic it’s going to translate into action at the ballot box.”

The program, which began in the fall of 2016, automatically activates the teen’s registration at age 18. State officials reported that more than 10% of the total number of pre-registrations have come in just the last few weeks.

Padilla said there’s been a noticeable uptick in teenagers signing up following the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school in February and last month’s nationwide protests over gun violence.

“The impact of recent events is undeniable,” Padilla said. “It’s absolutely served as a motivator for young people to pay more attention.”

About 43% of the pre-registrations were California teenagers who chose to be unaffiliated, non-party voters. About 38% chose the Democratic Party and just 10% chose to be ultimately registered as a Republican.

The state’s chief elections officer announced the new milestone for teenager pre-registration at the same time he unveiled a new state website designed to connect high school students with civic engagement opportunities, including mock elections and student poll worker programs.