As campus groups continue their campaign efforts, county officials are expecting a high voter turnout for tomorrow’s election – one that could give Democrats the first majority in Congress since 1994.
According to statistics from the Santa Barbara County Elections Office, the county has approximately 190,000 registered voters, of whom 9,300 were registered in Isla Vista and on campus. All those who registered by the Oct. 23 deadline will be able to vote at their assigned polling station anytime between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Clerk-Recorder-Assessor Joe Holland said I.V. generally yields a higher voter turnout rate than the rest of the county; over 70 percent of registered voters participated in the last midterm election compared to the county average of 60 percent. Holland said he expects the election will run smoothly on Tuesday and predicts that most citizens will fulfill their civic duty.
“I predict about a 65 percent voter turnout, which would be slightly higher than the last midterm election,” Holland said. “There should be no wait times at the polls either, which can partly be attributed to the increase in absentee voters over the last several years.”
Over 60 percent of Santa Barbara County’s registered constituents are absentee voters who cast a mail-in ballot, Holland said. This has resulted in both a higher rate of voting and has eased the strain on polling places on Election Day, he said.
Residents can find out where to vote on their sample ballot or by logging on to www.sbcvote.com. Polling sites include Hillel, St. Mark’s Catholic Church, the University Religious Center, Santa Barbara Korean United Methodist Church, Santa Ynez Apartments, Fontainebleu Apartments, Francisco Torres Residence Hall and the San Miguel and Santa Rosa residence halls.
Photo identification is only required for first time voters who registered by mail.
UCSB Campus Democrats’ President Ben Sheldon-Tarzynski, a fourth-year classics and history major, said members of the club will man an information table, hand out flyers and help voters find their polling places on election day. Beginning at 6 a.m. tomorrow, club members will place notes on apartment doors across I.V. reminding residents to get out and vote.
“This is going to be considered an historical election like 1994 was,” Sheldon-Tarzynski said. “Students who don’t vote will wish they had; it’s easy to vote so they have no excuse not to have their voices heard.”
Jerad Ferguson, vice-chair of the UCSB College Republicans, said the club plans to help support Dan Secord on Tuesday in his bid for Second District Supervisor. The Second District includes eastern Goleta and western Santa Barbara.
Ferguson, a third-year history and political science major, said the club recently campaigned in the city of Chula Vista in San Diego County to encourage people to go to the polls on Election Day.
“A democracy that works well is based on the people voting,” he said. “It comes down to the importance of every individual expressing their opinion.”