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How Are Young Angelenos Voting? It's Complicated.

A voter drops their ballot in an official ballot collection box in Highland Park on October 17. (Al Kamalizad for LAist)
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By Daniela Gerson, Assistant Professor of Journalism, CSUN and editor of Migratory Notes

Belen's cousin is not voting because she does not want to wade into her Catholic family politics over pro-life decisions. Miriam cannot vote, since she has DACA, but knows her future is at stake with the election and is waiting until her younger citizen brother can vote. Karine's family is incredibly frustrated because they feel neither candidate is concerned about supporting Armenia in the war with Azerbaijan. And Camille's parents, immigrants from Chile, felt compelled to vote for the first time - but for different candidates.

Los Angeles is considered a progressive stronghold with unified views. But when my journalism students at California State University, Northridge, who live in more than 25 communities across Southern California -- stretching from Moreno Valley to Oxnard and Inglewood to Santa Paula -- started sharing the conversations they are having about voting in their families, it became clear that there is no one perspective on this uniquely divisive election.

Here are ten of their experiences.

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We're also curious to hear from more Angelenos. Why are you voting? And what are the conversations you are having with your family about the election? Let us know by submitting a response here. We may use your responses on-air and/or online to highlight how Angelenos are thinking about voting this election.

(Courtesy Miriam Frutos Rodriguez)

Miriam Frutos Rodriguez


"I feel very concerned about this election even though I can't vote since the outcome of it will define my future. As a DACA recipient, these past four years have been horrible. I have been stressed and anxious ever since Trump started threatening to end DACA. As we get closer to graduation it's been a bittersweet feeling since my future is unstable and I don't know what good a diploma would be without a legal status. The only person who talks about politics is my younger brother who is 17. He has seen me and my sister stress out and is worried about our parents. He was very upset that he was not able to vote in this election and hopes that Biden will win. In addition he wants AOC to win in 2024."

(Courtesy Karine Reganyan)

Karine Reganyan


"As an Armenian, my household has found themselves boxed in because of the current war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As American citizens we know how important it is to vote and make our voices heard to better this country, but as Armenians we don't know if we will vote or not. As Armenians we are angry and frustrated that our tax dollars are being sent to fund our own country's demise. So, to be completely transparent, I don't believe many Armenians will be voting in this election."

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(Courtesy Samantha Demogenes)

Samantha Demogenes

Thousand Oaks

"In 2016, my parents confidently voted for Donald Trump. They thought he was the best choice for the country. They have always said they are "fiscally conservative" and they vote with their wallets. This year, they are less confident in their choice in Donald Trump. My mom had even said she doesn't want to vote this year (I quickly talked her out of that one because it is our duty as Americans to use our voice and vote). When I ask them why they are voting for Trump, they always say the economy. When I tell them the economy is a mess right now, they never have a response."

(Courtesy Amber Miller)

Amber Miller

Los Feliz

"I just feel like this election is relatively hopeless. Political figures are generally corrupt, Trump is the worst choice and Biden is an unfortunate one. My grandparents don't like Trump, but being from Egypt, their political concerns are split between places."

(Courtesy T'Erra Reed)

T'Erra Reed


"It almost feels like I'm watching a reality TV reunion every time I watch a debate. My dad had his first experience with voting in the 90s and even then there were big scandals that took place that involved the presidential candidates. An important point my father brought up is that our vote does matter. Regardless if you do not necessarily care for each of the presidential candidates (which I'll admit, it is very hard to resonate with either) there are still aspects such as the propositions and local government that significantly do matter."

(Courtesy Camille Lehmann)

Camille Lehmann


"My parents are immigrants from Chile, and this was their first time voting, which is exciting for them. They both felt that it was a big deal to vote for this election because we need change. I had to do research and educate myself so that I could have an idea and help my younger sister. Although my mother is a Republican and the rest of us are Democrats, we still all got together and discussed the pros and cons of each candidate."

(Courtesy Jennifer Alvarado Solis)

Jennifer Alvarado Solis

Jefferson Park

"This has been the most stressful election for my family. We are stuck and confused on who we should vote for. It is also very terrifying because we don't trust both of the presidential candidates. For the first time my parents and I have about the same views. My mother is from Mexico and my father is from El Salvador. My mother and I both have the same concerns when it comes to the issues that we are most worried about: immigration, health care, and the economy. And we believe that it is very important to vote because we have the responsibility and privilege to speak for those who can't."

(Courtesy Nayeli De La Torre)

Nayeli De La Torre

Baldwin Park

"This is my first presidential election that I am eligible to vote and the first election that my brother is deciding to vote on. We are both part of the Gen Z population in LA that leans closer to the progressive side. After living through Trump's presidency and seeing the narrative he portrays on immigrants like our parents, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, women, and people with disabilities we realize it's time for change. A change that can only be done by our vote and our voice which is why we are voting and urging others to do the same."

(Courtesy Milo Burris-Coulter)

Milo Burris-Coulter


"I'm feeling incredibly nervous about this election. There is so much at stake, it's hard to entirely fathom. I can't even think about what may or may not occur on November third. This is history in the making. I proudly voted by mail for Joe Biden and just thought of a metaphorical middle finger to our president's hatred towards voting my mail. My mom recalls growing up in a household of Republicans but coming out on the other side of the aisle. She has never felt more in touch with her political leanings as she does now."

(Courtesy Michelle De Leon)

Michelle De Leon

Simi Valley

"My father votes because he waited for so long to have a voice in this country that he isn't going to give it up and he feels that it's one of the few things he can do to participate to create a better system. I vote because I know people have died for the right to vote, that there are people that don't have a voice in the world they live in. By voting it's my way of moving the needle towards progress on their behalf."


Why are you voting? And what are the conversations you are having with your family about the election? Tell us below.

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