Voter Registration Volunteer Coalition and UCSB CalPIRG are hosting a local youth voting campaign today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Santa Rosa Residence Hall lawn in order to prevent student apathy toward voting and encourage students to cast their ballots.
The “Get Out the Vote” campaign — which is themed “Sexy and I’m Voting” — is part of the New Voters Project, a nonpartisan student voter mobilization movement. Student volunteers from CalPIRG, Associated Students and Campus Democrats will have their faces painted with American flags as they host a “Party at the Polls” on campus, offering candy, music and banner-signing during the campaign.
According to CalPIRG student intern and first-year undeclared major Rob Holland, recent statistics indicate that voting reminders can increase turnout by up to 17 percent.
“We’re painting our faces and asking students to sign the banner, for example, to portray visibility and show how many contacts we have gotten so far,” Holland said. “Our goal is to raise the voices of young people.”
CalPIRG organizer Kat Lockwood said the organization has registered 2,000 people to vote and reminded at least 45,000 about the importance of ballot-casting thus far.
“We’ve been doing analyses of what young people care about at the moment,” Lockwood said. “We found out that this time, they’re excited to be a part of something big and they’re excited to be voting for the first time. Hopefully, the banner-signing will help them commit.”
Fourth-year physics major Erik Anciaux, president of Campus Democrats, said multiple organizations are collaborating with campaign efforts in order to reach out to as many students as possible.
“Campus Dems, CalPIRG and [Associated Students] have been working a lot together to make sure we’re not taking the same tabling spots and aren’t hitting the same voters twice,” Anciaux said.
According to Anciaux, students should vote this year since state ballot initiative Proposition 30 has a large impact on UC tuition costs.
“The most obvious reason why students should vote this year is to make higher education more affordable,” Anciaux said. “Proposition 30 allows for an increase on personal income and sales taxes to fund schools and other education programs in the state budget.”
Furthermore, College Republicans President Chris Babadjanian, a fourth-year political science major, said it is essential for students to engage in civic action since a number of social, economic and political issues are being greatly affected by this season’s state ballot initiatives.
“It’s important to get students out to vote because there are so many issues other than partisan politics that will directly affect students,” Babadjanian said. “For example, there are multiple propositions from the increasing of prison sentences and fines for human trafficking in Proposition 35 to prohibition of unions from using paycheck deductions in Proposition 32.”
However, Babadjanian said the main reason students should vote rests in the fact that their futures will be profoundly affected by this election season’s outcomes.
“I truly believe that students should go read about all propositions and vote on what they think is right,” Babadjanian said. “There are a lot of things that affect us and if the country is not being worked out when we graduate, then what are we even working so hard for? We have to prepare the country for us — for our generation.”
At the event, students will be asked to text 10 of their friends reminding them to vote, Lockwood said, adding that student apathy is likely not as widespread as commonly believed.
“There are definitely a lot of issues that young people care about, from the economy to the environment to college affordability,” Lockwood said. “Students are really determined to vote this election. Voter turnout has actually been on the rise, despite this narrative that voter apathy is prominent and increasing.”
According to Holland, “Get Out the Vote” will educate students by providing information on voting locations and general voting procedures.
“Our campaigns are going to have a big effect on students,” Holland said. “For me, at least, I didn’t know the details of who to vote for or when to vote. For freshmen, these campaigns will help them know how to fill out a voter registration sheet and ballot.”