Clarification: According to the United States Student Association, UCSB has the most registered voters in the nation via student-led voter drives when compared to 331 other colleges.
As voter registration came to a close Tuesday, UCSB students proved once again they know how to rock the vote.
With 5,031 students officially registered to vote in the upcoming California primaries, UCSB has claimed the highest proportion of registered voters of any university in the nation, accounting for nearly 39 percent of all registered University of California voters. According to a UC Student Association press release, the UC Students Vote! project, which mobilizes students across the state to do peer-to-peer voter registration, recruited a total of 12,918 voters system wide. UCSB was trailed by UC Los Angeles with 1,787 graduate and undergraduate students registered out of about 36,000 total students.
Student Lobby Chair and UCSB Legislative Liaison on Statewide Issues Amanda Burlingame said she has worked in conjunction with Associated Students to spur voter registration for the past two years.
“We do a lot of great work registering a lot of students,” Burlingame said. “We registered more students than any other UC campus this year.”
Burlingame, a third-year political science major, said A.S. encourages UCSB students to register by tabling outside the UCen as well as the Arbor, giving in-class presentations and posting announcements both online and on campus. In addition, A.S. takes advantage of residence hall meetings on campus by “dorm storming,” which accounts for an incredible amount of campus registration, Burlingame said.
“Dorm storming is the best way to get to a large amount of students,” Burlingame said. “This year we got a little under 2,000 on one day.”
According to Burlingame, the California primaries, which will take place Feb. 5 – Super Tuesday – usually draw in smaller registration numbers than the main presidential election in November.
“Primaries usually get less people registered because it’s a small election,” Burlingame said. “We’ve increased our primary amount a lot this year.”
According to A.S. Statewide Affairs Organizing Director Jaclyn Feldstein, the high turnout was a product of aggressive tabling and one-on-one contact with potential voters.
“[Voter registration] was really great, especially since it’s the primaries,” Feldstein said. “We got a lot tabling because we get one-on-one connections with people.”
Feldstein, a third-year religious studies and art history major, said the stereotype that young people are uninvolved and apathetic is a misconception disproved by the recent statistics.
“People have the connotation that young people don’t vote when they really do,” Feldstein said. “Elections affect people for the rest of their lives. Students registering really shows that people want a change in the White House and want their voices heard.”
Second-year English and dramatic art major Chad Mandala said the role of student voters is crucial in determining policy that will have lingering effects for them.
“I feel it’s important to express my views and help determine the outcome of the upcoming election,” Mandala said. “It is important for university students to get involved in national politics because we are the future, and we need to start actively shaping our future now.”