Council to Offer Free Class Notes on November Election Days

Free lecture notes will be available to all students every national election starting November 2011 to encourage voting, following a resolution passed by A.S. Council on Feb. 2

As per the resolution, lecture notes will be provided by A.S. Lecture Notes on its website for the day of the election. Funding allocation for the project has not yet been determined, but the council is attempting to keep costs as low as possible, according to Office of the President Press Secretary Reem Ateyeh.

A.S. intern Arshya Sharifian proposed the measure. Sharifian said the “Resolution to Support Student Voting” is critical in giving students the support needed to vote, due to the difficulty of informing themselves about candidates and issues while studying for midterms.

“By doing this, we’ll be saying to the student, ‘We, as the A.S. Council, recognize it’s hard to go out and vote and get informed, but we’re going to make sure it happens,’” Sharifian said.

By providing lecture notes on Election Day, council hopes to provide students with time to vote without worrying about classes. All lecture notes on Election Day will be posted for free on the A.S. Council website. The resolution is also encouraging all professors to participate by podcasting or posting notes for their Election Day lectures.

Under the resolution, A.S. Council will also keep track of student voter turnouts, which Sharifian said could help attract politicians to come to UCSD.

According to the United States Elections Project at George Mason University, national voter turnout in the Nov. 2010 midterm elections was 40.9 percent. Students on campus nearly doubled the national voter turnout, with an 81 percent turnout for all registered voters at UCSD. According to Anthony Eastman, the Senior Precinct Planning Technician at the County of San Diego Registrar of Voters, there were 3,259 registered voters on campus and 2,655 ballots were cast.

“There is some error from provisional ballots, but this is a pretty accurate depiction of voter activity in those precincts,” Eastman said.

A.S. Council President Wafa Ben Hassine said she hopes that turnout will rise even more. She said the resolution is part of a larger push from council to engage students in politics.

“It’s important that students have every incentive to vote,” Ben Hassine said. “We’re doing a lot with A.S. to get students to be more aware and cognizant of their political and environmental surroundings.”

The Office of External Affairs is making additional efforts to increase political activism, which will include sending student delegates to lobby for higher education in Sacramento, Ben Hassine said.

The office is also launching a blog this week to keep students informed of new projects and events.

“I want to go back to the most fundamental part of [change], which is voting,” Sharifian said. “Voting did all of that. Voting was the essence and had everything to do with any type of change in our system.”

Based on its success in this November’s election, Sharifian hopes to have the lecture notes program return for the presidential election in 2012.

Additional reporting by Justin Kauker.

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