Students vote in Calif. election

    Despite the efforts of several campus organizations to get young people to register for the elections, poll workers said only 479 on-campus students actually came out to vote at the UCSD polling places on Nov. 5. Those who did take part in the elections joined other Californians and the rest of the nation for the 2002 general elections.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian

    Both the Muir Commons and Price Center precincts reported a majority of student voters at the elections and also a few staff members. But according to precinct Director Richard Marcus of Price Center polls, “”out of the 700 ballots available [at the Price Center precinct], only [239] were used.””

    However, the YouthVote Coalition, an organization that worked to increase voter turnout, reported that 1,500 students were registered on campus through several events held earlier this year. These included barbecues, Welcome Week fairs and a concert. The statewide group was also able to register 40,000 students throughout California, an improvement from last year, according to A.S. Council President Jenn Brown.

    Several events were also held throughout the day to encourage students to go to the polls. On Library Walk, the A.S. Council gave out cookies, “”Get Your Vote On”” T-shirts and class schedules for winter quarter to those who had already been to the polls and showed their “”I Voted”” stickers. Music played in the background as students asked A.S. Council members about election information. Additionally, they could receive a state-issued voting guide to further inform themselves about candidates and the issues on the ballot.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian

    “”By voicing their opinions, student votes could actually determine who will win in the really close races,”” said Muir College Freshman Senator Nam Bui.

    An Election Day party was also held at Porter’s Pub by the Graduate Student Association on the eveing pf Nov. 5 to push voter participation. Local bands The Masses and Danielle Lo Presti gave a live performance for those who attended. Students who could show a valid graduate student I.D. and their stickers were also able to receive free beverages. In addition, the night prior to election day, the Thurgood Marshall College Council sponsored an election forum for those who had further questions on propositions and candidates.

    Thurgood Marshall College Councilmember Kate Maull said that the event was “”to help educate students on the issues and to remind them to vote.””

    Some students have expressed their concern about the lack of interest in attending these elections among their peers.

    “”As students, it’s time for us to come out and vote,”” said Sarah Piazza, a freshman at Eleanor Roosevelt College. “”It’s ridiculous how a lot of people don’t know the issues that concern us.””

    According to the California Student Public Interest Research Group, about 20 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 24 participated in national elections in the last cycle, and only 5 percent vote in the local elections. These statistics shows that the number of young people who vote is less than half of adults.

    However, those who were present at the polls also stressed the significance of participating in the election process.

    “”I think it’s important to exercise the right that I have to give my input in how the government is ran,”” said third year Marshall student Lila McIver. “”I feel really lucky to have this right.””

    Others feel a responsibility toward voting and are more optimistic that their voice still matters in state and national politics.

    “”It’s important to stay active even if the impact is minimal, because it’s still an impact,”” said Jake Nare, a freshman at Earl Warren College.

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