Photo by Kassandra Alvarez Clarissa Ochoa is a community college student who voted in her first presidential election this year.
Photo by Kassandra Alvarez

Four years ago, 16-year-old Clarissa Ochoa watched her world change. She remembers keeping track of the 2016 election results and witnessed the country elect a president who lost the popular vote.   

As a high school student and unable to vote, “learning Arizona stopped counting” in 2016 pushed her to become an active voter when she turned 18.

“I am aware of my privilege,” said Clarissa, reflecting on the reasons she has chosen to vote. “If I didn’t vote, it would dishonor the communities I give a voice to.”

In 2020, Clarissa began working part-time calling voters, asking them to support Prop 208, Mark Kelly, and Joe Biden. After casting her own vote, she emphasized Prop. 208 is one of the top issues on her ballot.

“I went to a low-income school,” Clarissa shared, “I experienced ripped books and underpaid teachers,” she added, bringing attention to schools in her community.

With hundreds of calls and texts endorsing candidates who can protect her community and immigrant family, as well as more funding for “schools in her community,” she hopes her vote and work are decisive in this election.


Continue Reading: Millions of Arizonans are Voting This Election. Here Are Their Stories.