With Election Day finally here, UCSB’s student-run political groups are organizing massive last minute pushes to get I.V. residents out to the polls.
Though they may disagree on many issues, leaders from both Campus Democrats and College Republicans know one thing for certain: You can’t win an election without votes. Both groups will be out in force today, encouraging residents to cast ballots for their party candidates.
Polling sites are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and each organization recommends that voters show up early to avoid long lines.
Ross Nolan, a fourth-year political science major and chairman of the UCSB College Republicans, said his group has focused its efforts on supporting Tony Strickland for the 19th District State Senate seat.
“We’ve been having a lot of people going door to door giving people information about Strickland, and just generally reminding people to get out and vote,” Nolan said. “Also, we are supporting John MacKinnon, a nonpartisan [candidate for the position of Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge]. We don’t have a whole lot of people, so that’s where we’ve been putting our resources.”
Meanwhile, Campus Democrats will be waging a more aggressive campaign on Election Day. Armed with informational fliers, they plan to increase voter turnout — even if it means dragging local residents to the polls one by one.
“We are going to be working all day starting at 6 a.m.,” Campus Democrats President Chrissy Elles said. “We have 50 to a hundred volunteers who plan to hang voting guides on every door in Isla Vista, and we’ll be putting signs up, talking to people on and off campus and really just getting the energy flowing.”
“We will be going from house to house, knocking on the door and making sure every person in every apartment has voted, and offering to walk with or drive people to the polls if they want,” she added. “Until we see at least four ‘I Voted’ stickers on the door, we’re going to keep on knocking.”
Nolan said that although some of the UCSB College Republican’s roughly 25 active members are unofficially supporting various ballot measures, the group has not taken a stand on any specific propositions. Still, he said he encourages students to educate themselves about the issues on the ballot and come out to the polls.
“The state and local elections affect our lives way more than the federal elections,” Nolan said. “I just don’t think most people know that.”
Like Nolan, Elles emphasized the importance of students voting on local issues, as well as for the national ticket. She said that her group has been campaigning fervently for Hannah-Beth Jackson for the 19th District State Senate seat and Doreen Farr for 3rd District Supervisor chair, and has taken strong positions against Propositions 4 and 8.
“We are focused on making sure that students vote all the way down the ticket, not just for Obama,” Elles said. “If we want to see real change, we have to elect Doreen Farr and Hannah-Beth Jackson. We want the most progressive democratic candidates all the way down the ticket.”
Concerning the Presidential race, both Nolan and Elles expressed a somewhat cautious hope that their party’s candidate will come away with the presidency.
“I don’t really know,” Nolan said. “It looks like Obama could win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College — that’s a definite possibility. I’m not optimistic.”
Ellis, meanwhile, said that she felt her party had a good chance of winning the national election, particularly if they are successful at encouraging new voters to come out to the polls.
“I’m optimistic, but it’s really going to depend on the student vote, especially with so many new students registering this year,” she said. “I’m really excited. Barring any voter fraud or voter issues, hopefully we’ll win.”