Youth involvement in the November 2017 Virginia governor’s race played a key part in Democrat Ralph Northam’s victory. NBC News exit polls reported that 69 percent of youth voters, aged 18 to 29, voted for Northam. Local high schoolers have been involved in the race in to influence their peers.

Senior Elizabeth Fretz, a fellow for the Virginia Democratic Coordinated Campaign, started interning in May by phone-banking, door knocking and organizing events.

“I think it’s important to volunteer because I am a person who cannot vote, so volunteering is the only way I can have impact in elections,” Fretz said.

It has been a large time commitment, but Fretz said it is worth it.

“It’s vital that young people get out and get involved because the issues that people vote on every election cycle still affect us,” Fretz said.

The legal voting age is 18, allowing a select few seniors to take part in Nov. elections.

“I feel very powerful,” senior and first time voter Abish Rimal said. “My thoughts on these large issues can finally be heard and have a real impact.”

Left to right: Sophomore Rachel Gventer of Langtree Charter School, seniors Elizabeth Fretz, Neel Simpson and Helen Roades of Madison High School.