RICHMOND, Va. -- With some eight months away from the November elections, Mayor Levar Stoney visited several high schools to encourage seniors to register to vote.
"What I want to press upon our seniors is that they can change what they see on TV and change their communities by registering to vote," Stoney said.
Stoney spoke to seniors in government classes at John Marshall High and Open High schools Wednesday morning. The mayor previously spoke to students at Armstrong High School, Franklin Military Academy and the Richmond Alternative School.
A majority of the 18-year-olds raised their hands when the mayor asked whether they were registered to vote.
"We see the things going on and we know if you put your voice in you can actually change something," John Marshall Senior Rayshaun Harris said.
In the weeks following the Parkland High School shooting in Florida, young people have become more mobilized politically than ever.
Thousands showed up to the Capitol for the March For Our Lives rally Saturday advocating for stricter gun control.
Arnasia Russell, a senior at John Marshall High, believed guns and gun control were youth's most important issue.
"I believe every vote counts," Russell said. "Most people get in the habit thinking their vote doesn't matter, but every vote counts."
CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said young people are more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate, which is why Stoney was pushing for Richmond seniors to register to vote.
Stoney ran for and successfully won Richmond's mayoral seat as a Democrat in 2016.
"The Democrats are trying to do two things," Holsworth explained. "One, they hope this coming year the youth will vote in larger numbers based on recent events and the mobilization that occurred after the Parkland shooting."
"And two, their long-term legislative goal is that the democrats and others are pushing for is pre-registering youth to vote before they turn 18," he said.
The City of Richmond, in collaboration with Inspire U.S., also launched the Mayor’s Voter Registration Award for high school students throughout the city.
The award is intended to recognize and commemorate the efforts of the next generation of leaders to educate, engage and inform their fellow students about how to get involved in the voting process.
The award will be presented to schools who register 65-percent of their eligible senior class.
"Inspire U.S. is delighted to be partnering with the Mayor and Richmond Public Schools,” said Ian Baxter, Regional Manager for Inspire Virginia. “As a Richmond Public Schools alum, I am excited to help students use their voices to express their political beliefs and become lifelong engaged citizens and voters."