If Barack Obama wins a majority of California’s votes today, a 20-year-old UCSB student will represent the state in the Electoral College this year.
As one of California’s 55 democratic electors, third-year political science major Ian Blue has pledged to vote for Obama in the Electoral College. With every major poll placing California firmly in the Illinois senator’s column, Blue will likely travel to Sacramento on Dec. 15 to cast a direct vote for his party’s candidate.
Blue, a member of the UCSB Campus Democrats, was nominated to the College by Congressman Mike Thompson at the beginning of the school year. He said the experience has been overwhelming.
“It’s an incredible, incredible, amazing honor,” Blue said. “It’s so humbling to be actually electing the next president – assuming that Obama wins.”
Blue, who has been an Obama supporter for the past four years, drove to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this July to watch the senator’s nomination speech. According to Blue, Obama is the ideal commander in chief.
“Why Obama? No one has the capacity like he does to inspire young voters into the next years, decades and millennia to come,” Blue said.
Blue, who transferred to UCSB from Santa Rosa Junior College this year, interned for Congressman Thompson during the summer of 2007. Thompson said Blue was the perfect pick to represent the new wave of voters in the 2008 election.
“To me, Ian embodies the excitement, energy and enthusiasm of a new generation that will help lift our country to new heights,” Thompson said in a press release. “In all the time that I have known Ian, he has shown a level of knowledge and understanding of the challenges we face that is well beyond his years. And, more importantly, he has demonstrated a real commitment to finding solutions to these problems. For these reasons, I could not think of a better person to nominate to serve in the Electoral College.”
According to Blue, appointment to the Electoral College at such a young age is unusual but not unheard of. Blue said he had no prior knowledge that he was slated to represent California in a potentially historic election.
“I had no idea [I was going to be elected], I just got a call one day, it was an aide for Representative Thompson, asking if I had time to go to Sacramento on Dec. 15,” Blue said. “I was like, yeah – what do you need? And then he told me I was going to be an elector. I couldn’t believe it – generally electors are going to be a lot older – I did some research, and the average age of electors is traditionally around 50.”
Chrissy Elles, president of Campus Democrats, said Blue volunteered countless hours leading up to today’s election, walking door to door to educate students about the candidates and propositions and registering voters. She said Blue has been an exemplary model of an enthusiastic democrat ever since he transferred to this campus.
“Regardless of his nomination [as an elector], he has really been a champion of ensuring democratic victory,” Elles said in a press release.
After graduation, Blue said he plans to move to Washington, D.C. to continue his political pursuits.
“This has really been a very humbling experience for me so far,” Blue said. “Right now, I’m just looking to finish up school and move to D.C. – work on the hill, possibly for a congressman.”