NYRA members, drawn largely from the Orange County and Berkeley chapters, attended the California Democratic Party’s annual convention from April 28-30. NYRA hoped that the California Democratic Party would embrace NYRA’s voting age position as part of its platform. Many party leaders were supportive, however the platform committee was directly hostile to lowering the voting age and the NYRA members in attendance. NYRA-OC President Natasha Hull-Richter, who organized the campaign, stated that “those appointed to the committee were strong opponents of youth rights.” The chair of the platform committee denied NYRA members the customary response time, and many NYRA-OC members left the convention early, feeling that the deck was stacked against them. While the experience with that platform committee was overwhelmingly negative, more good than bad came out of the campaign. NYRA members also secured the support of several prominent California politicians who were in attendance. Rep. Maxine Waters, Assemblyman Paul Koretz, State Controller and gubernatorial candidate Steve Wesley, State Senator Jackie Speier and State Senator Deborah Bowen all expressed their support for a lower voting age. Coming just after an endorsement from the Screen Actors Guild, this represents a victory for the cause of youth rights. California NYRA members are currently waiting to hear if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in favor of a lower voting age. NYRA sends it sincere thanks to all the members who attended this convention, and especially to the politicians who were courageous enough to stand up for youth rights.

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