There are several reasons why students shouldn’t vote in this November’s election. People say the issues don’t affect us, and that even if we try we won’t make a difference. Clearly there aren’t any issues that actually affect students on this November’s ballot.

The only issues to vote on or things that could be changed by voting are things like electing a governor and state legislature who influence legislation on countless issues, including raising or lowering student fees, alternative sources of energy, the I.V. noise ordinance, sidewalks in Isla Vista, police enforcement issues, public transportation such as in Measure D, mass evictions, cleaner beaches, whether or not to allow smoking pot or to build a jail for students in I.V. and a myriad of other things.

There are only 11 days left to register to vote for the 2006 midterm election. The youth vote does matter, especially in Santa Barbara County. The student turnout swung the election in the past several congressional and assembly races. In the last gubernatorial race, 363,689 votes won the election. There are 3 million students in college in California and our collective voice could and should make a real difference.

The more we vote, the more influence we have over these important decisions. We vote to build power for students, in order to hold elected officials accountable for our needs. This year the UC, the CSUs and community colleges are all uniting to build a strong student voice in our state. This effort not only has the obvious potential to change the political climate in California, but let’s be clear: If we don’t vote in this election, the decisions will be made for us.

If you’re one of the several thousand UCSB students who haven’t registered to vote, make sure to do so at the UCen voter registration table over the next 11 days. Finally, don’t forget that the election is on November 7th!