California voters say coronavirus is most important issue 

For some 18-year-olds, today’s California recall election will be an opportunity to cast a ballot for the first time.

On both sides of the aisle, newly-eligible voters told CNN they were eager to participate in the special election to decide Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s fate.

For her part, Camille Colker was frustrated when she missed the ability to vote in the 2020 presidential election by just two days.

So when Colker — who turned 18 on Nov. 5, 2020 — received her mail-in ballot for the recall, she jumped at the opportunity to return it.

Colker voted “no” on the recall, citing environmental justice, pandemic response and misinformation as the issues “at stake,” in Tuesday’s election.

“I felt excited to be voting, but also incredibly pressured,” Colker said, given what she described as the seriousness of each of these issues.

Likewise, Victoria DaSilva, who turned 18 in March, said she was “excited there was an opportunity” to vote “so soon,” as she thought she would have to wait until the 2022 midterms to cast her first ballot.

“I was so happy that I was able to finally participate in government because I just feel like it’s so important to be an active member in our government,” said DaSilva, who is from Manhattan Beach and an incoming freshman at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). “Even though it was just one question, I was glad to be able to make my voice count a little bit.”

DaSilva, who voted “no” on the recall and returned her ballot Monday, said she has always “taken for granted” living in a Democratic state and worries that Tuesday’s election “could turn that around.”

Meanwhile, Jerri Lopez, who turned 18 in May, said voting in the recall election was “an awesome experience.”

“I couldn’t vote in this past presidential election, which really bummed me out, so I was thrilled knowing I could vote in the recall,” said Lopez, a San Diego native and freshman at University of Southern California. 

Lopez voted “yes” to recall Newsom and told CNN that “overall unity in California is at stake in this recall.”

She said she worries about “strict” mask mandates, vaccine mandates and “potentially another shut down in regards to Covid” if Newsom were to stay in power. 

Lopez voted to replace Newsom with Republican candidate Larry Elder. 

And while Marin Ruiz, who is 19, voted for the first time in the 2020 presidential election, she said the recall provided her with “the most exposure and first-hand experience” she’s had so far to the Republican Party. 

“This recall feels more real to me personally, just because I feel like my vote counts more than in a presidential election. It literally hits closer to home,” Ruiz, who is the president of the University of Southern California College Republicans, told CNN. 

“Californians have experienced the effect of policies first hand during the past year,” Ruiz said, adding that unemployment, crime rates, school closings and mask mandates are all issues at stake in the recall.

Last weekend, Ruiz knocked on doors to get out the vote in San Bernardino, California, where she met Elder.

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