SOVAC Hosts Debate Event

    The Student Organized Voter Access Committee and A.S. Council and Events held “A Slice of Democracy” on Monday, Oct. 22 at Price Center East Ballroom. With presentations, free pizza and a screening of the final presidential debate, the event emphasized the importance of voting.

    The event began at 5 p.m. with presentations by the College Democrats and College Republicans, who advocated for their party causes. J Street U, a pro-Israel organization, also explained its goal of having a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Associate Vice President of Concerts and Events Eric Babajanian, who helped organize the event, said that students should be politically conscious, because every individual’s vote is important.

    “The more people you have voting, the more accurate the results are,” Babajanian said. “It’s as simple as that. So what we do is put on this event, educate people about what’s going on in the ballots, and encourage them to vote.”

    Information booths for state and local propositions were stationed around the room, educating students on the main idea of each proposition.

    Booths ranged from Prop. 30, which would prevent budget cuts to university funding, to Prop. Z, which would create improved learning environments in the San Diego Unified School District.

    SOVAC Executive Associate Kyle Heiskala said that there are numerous propositions that affect students, which give students a reason to register and vote.

    “It’s a really big deal for everyone to register and vote because when things don’t go our way, we miss our chance to affect it,” Heiskala said. “When our tuition increases we miss our chance to combat it and fight against it.”

    The presidential debate on foreign policy began screening at 6 p.m., followed by a brief discussion session with associate professor of political science Thad Kousser. Kousser answered questions about the key points of state propositions and stressed students’ influence in state laws.

    Kousser mentioned the political inactivity on campus of past years, recalling that turnout and registration rates were extremely low. UCSD had the lowest voter registration rates among UC campuses.

    “Students were never a part of the discussion about who the next mayor should be or about who the next city councilman from this district should be,” Kousser said. “But I think there’s been a tremendous increase that we’ve seen in the last few years and UCSD just coming alive politically.”

    Since college is the first opportunity for students to experience voting, Kousser said that these years are a chance to become politically aware.

    “It’s also college where you gain the habits for the rest of your life,” Kousser said. “And the habit of politics, of getting engaged, of doing it socially, of coming and watching a debate with a hundred other UCSD students and talking with them about it — if you start that habit in college, that’s going to stay with you the rest of your life.”

    Students who attended the event had a final chance to register to vote via a SOVAC-run registration table; Monday night was the deadline to register.

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