University of California and California State University campuses across the state kicked off the annual UC Student Association voter registration drive this week.
This is the first year the UCs and CSUs have banded together in the peer-to-peer project supported by both the California State Student Association and the United States Student Association Foundation. The project seeks to register a total of 60,000 student voters by September 24.
While the entire UC system aims to register a total of 30,000 voters, UCSB alone hopes to sign up 7,000 students by the end of the week. As of last evening, over 2,000 students had registered. Volunteers for the effort are registering voters daily at the Arbor, residence halls and classrooms around campus.
Associated Students President Paul Monge-Rodriguez said he has high hopes for the initiative at UCSB because of the campus’ politically active history. The Voter Registration Volunteer Coalition enlisted 10,241 student voters — more than any other university in the country — for the 2008 presidential election.
“Just like any other year, we’re trying to keep up our tradition of being one of the most politically involved and active campuses in the country,” Monge-Rodriguez said.
According to Nayra Pacheco, chair of the Voter Registration Volunteer Coalition and third-year History of Public Policy and Environmental Studies major, UCSB’s goal of 7,000 voters is significantly higher than that of any other UC. After the high number of registrations this past week, Pacheco said she’s sure the target will be reached.
Additionally, Pacheco stressed the importance of a high student voter turnout, especially in the upcoming elections.
“I think now, more than ever, the importance of voting for these gubernatorial elections is clear,” Pacheco said. “The governor appoints the [Board of] Regents and, given the increase in fees this year, we can definitely make a connection as to how these elections will directly affect our lives as students, and that’s motivated us to be part of the process.”