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Youth Council Member Spotlight: Lilliana

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Gail Johnson

For our second feature, we have the delight of introducing Lilliana, a senior at Casco Bay High School in Cumberland County! As well as all of the GOTV efforts that Lilliana is invested in, she is also a part of her high school’s math and rock climbing team, while also a member of her school’s the Mock Trial and Model UN team.
 
Do you remember when you first realized that politics were important?
I first became interested in politics as I was nearing the age of 18 because I knew that voting was a given right that I should take advantage of this privilege. If I was going to be 18 by the general election, I could vote in the spring primaries. In my junior year, I did a public policy presentation on expanding the right to vote. Through that presentation, I learned about voter suppression and other reasons why only 49.3% of the voting-eligible population voted in the 2018 election. That presentation helped me realize how important it is as a teen to get involved in politics to help increase the youth vote.
 
How did you first get involved in politics and / or GOTV efforts?
I first got involved in politics when I started phone banking for Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund this past spring. Then when I heard the League of Women Voters of Maine was creating a group of high schoolers to lead youth GOTV efforts I instantly joined because I knew through the Youth Council I could make some real change.
 
To you, what is the most important part of GOTV?
The most important part of GOTV for me is to make sure everyone is an informed voter. Providing nonpartisan resources to voters is key so that everyone can make their own decisions on what is best for them. It is not just enough to register to vote, one needs to research the candidates and issues that are going to be on their ballot and then vote for them.
 
Why do you think that youth involvement is important, especially in GOTV and voting itself?
I think youth involvement is important especially in GOTV because it engages teens at a young age to be involved in their community. It helps create a new generation of lifelong voters that will educate others their age. If youth do not speak up and get involved in GOTV efforts then the percentage of 18-29-year-olds who vote will not increase.
 
Please tell us about some GOTV activities or engagements that you have participated in (leadership roles, speaking roles, etc!).
I am part of the Steering Committee on the Youth Council which provides leadership to the YC. Some GOTV activities that I have participated in through the YC is a social media campaign and the Friend to Friend project, where I texted my peers about the importance of voting through a text banking app. Additionally, I have participated in the Youth Votes! Initiative at my school where I helped register those who are able to vote in the upcoming election. Furthermore, I am currently an intern for the League of Women Voters of Maine.
 
What was your most inspiring and / or exciting GOTV engagement or accomplishment?
The most inspiring GOTV accomplishment is when I was part of a text bank to reach out to my peers about voting. It was inspiring to me because I knew that those people would then reach out to ten more friends who they knew, further expanding the number of youths getting out the vote.
 
What is one piece of advice that you would give to others your age, when they are feeling hopeless and doubtful about the current state of US politics and voting?
One piece of advice I would give to others my age is that your voice matters. Get involved in civic engagement and politics to make your voice heard. You are never too young to start getting politically involved and your opinions will make a difference.