After a last minute surge in registered voters pushed UC Berkeley ahead of UCSB in the college voter drive, a recent recount invalidated enough registration forms to give the grand prize concert to UCSB.
Last Thursday, the Daily Nexus incorrectly declared UC Berkeley the victor of the Ultimate College Bowl, a national competition between college campuses to boost student voter registration. In actuality, the Nexus dropped the ball: On Wednesday, the College Bowl announced that UCSB had won the competition. UCSB registered the most student voters and had the highest percentage of student voters of all colleges for the 2008 presidential election, and for its efforts, Death Cab for Cutie and Colin Meloy of the Decemberists will play for free on campus.
Corey Huber, Associated Students external vice president for statewide affairs, said UC Berkeley incorrectly appeared as the winner of the competition on the College Bowl Web site until the day after the announcement deadline. However, when the College Bowl reviewed submissions they discovered many Berkeley students had actually registered twice, invalidating a significant portion of their total voter count.
“[The College Bowl] was like ‘hey, guess what, students at Berkeley registered on campus and online and as a result Berkeley had duplicates’,” Huber, a third-year political science major, said. “We had some duplicates on our campus too but we found out on Wednesday that we still came out on top after the correction.”
Despite initial miscommunications between the university and competition organizers, Huber said the College Bowl assured campus officials these results were final.
“[The College Bowl] called the correction [Wednesday] and apologized to us for being misleading and basically jerking us around,” Huber said. “They promised these were the official numbers.”
The final numbers for the competition now place UCSB in first place with 10,857 registered student voters, edging out UC Berkeley by just 358 students. In terms of percentage of registered voters, UCSB also claimed first, clocking in 51 percent of the total student population.
Huber said the confusion surrounding the competition arose from an overlapping of aggregate data from multiple voter registration organizations.
“The competition collects voter registration from three sources, the University of California Student Association, Student Organizations such as Campus Democrats and Student PIRGs and online voter registration sites like Declare Yourself and Rock the Vote,” Huber said. “That’s where the curveball came in.”
According to Huber, although the last day of voter registration was Oct. 20, organizations had until the closing moments of the election night to disclose their final numbers.
“Voter registration [databases] technically had until midnight on Nov. 4 to submit registered voters,” Hubert said. “Rock the Vote turned in hundreds of thousands of registered voters the contest had to take into consideration.”
The last minute surge in online registered voters bumped UC Berkeley’s total count up by approximately 3,000 — just enough to surpass UCSB. As a result, Huber said, it appeared UC Berkeley would be declared the winner of the contest.
“Numbers went up for all of the colleges,” Huber said. “I told the Ultimate College Bowl the last minute [changes] had been misleading and were inappropriate and they were planning on writing a letter of understanding and apology to the UCSB community.”
Now that UCSB will officially receive both concerts, campus organizations are working to finalize funding and logistics.
Sina Sadighi, A.S. Program Board special events coordinator, said while the College Bowl will fund performances by Death Cab for Cutie and Colin Meloy, additional costs will need to be covered by the campus.
“[The College Bowl] will pay for the talent as well as $10,000 for production,” Sadighi a fourth-year political science major, said. “But production actually costs more like $50,000 when you consider security, venue rental, ticketing and everything else involved.”
While specifics are still being hashed out, Sadighi said Meloy will most likely open for Death Cab for Cutie to consolidate production costs which Program Board is still delegating.
“No one has officially put dollars in the pot, it’s still all discussion, but it looks like we are good to go for the show,” Sadighi said. “We are still finalizing the pledges and exactly how much [the College Bowl] will give us, but if there is anything outstanding after the contributions, Program Board will cover the rest.”