Anticipation for Super Tuesday was high in Storke Plaza yesterday afternoon at the Get Out the Vote Rally presented by the Campus Democrats.
The rally was funded by the Associated Students Finance Board as part of A.S.’s nonpartisan voter registration drive organized to excite students about voting today and to answer any last-minute questions about polling locations.
23rd District Congresswoman Lois Capps spoke to students about translating UCSB’s 5,000 voter registrations into actual votes. Capps said the election is in students’ hands and they should not neglect the opportunity to make their voices heard.
“We could have a record turnout for a primary on this campus tomorrow,” Capps said. “This election is about the future and young people are taking the lead.”
Tables were set up to display lists of polling locations in Isla Vista and UCSB residence halls along with a vote center area map. Campus Democrats distributed T-shirts reading “I’m Young and I’m Voting” as well as voter guides to the crowd of over 100 students. Free sandwiches from Silvergreens, chips and beverages were also provided to the attendees.
The balloons that adorned the tables also had a message for students: “Don’t Let Your Vote Float Away.”
Campus Democrats President Chrissy Elles, a third-year environmental studies and political science major, said she considers 2008 the year of the young voter. Political affiliations aside, Elles said students will determine the future by their votes.
“It’s not really about Republicans versus Democrats,” Elles said. “It’s about who you really want to see in the White House and what kind of change you want. If you’re fed up with the way things are going, then this is your chance to have a say.”
Steven Wolfson, third-year global studies major and Barack Obama supporter, said he came to Storke Plaza to listen to Capps speak and rally fellow students to vote. Wolfson said that he was campaigning for Obama and responsible for many of the Obama signs visible around campus. However, he also said he believed that students should voice their opinion regardless of candidate preference.
“More than just supporting Obama, we’re supporting voting,” Wolfson said. “It’s ridiculously important. It’s the future we’re deciding right now. It’s a choice of where we want the country to go, the direction we want it to go in.”
Capps echoed this sentiment, and said this new generation of voters will play a significant role in changing Washington politics.
“Young people are going to determine the election,” Capps said. “Changes that young people are demanding, such as ending the war in Iraq, implementing universal health care, decreasing college tuitions and improving the environment are causes I support.”
A.S. Executive Vice President of Statewide Affairs Christine Byon, a fourth-year communication and anthropology major, helped inquiring voters find their polling locations yesterday. She said she hoped that yesterday’s rally and the results of past primaries will encourage students to vote today. Byon also said she was optimistic about today’s participation due to the number of students that had taken the initiative to come out and find information about their polling locations.
“I’m hoping to impel students to educate themselves on issues that really matter,” Byon said. “The high voter turnout among young voters in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries really swayed the vote to their interest.”