The Voter Registration Volunteer Coalition misplaced a box of voter registration cards last week, temporarily rendering 200 registration forms void.
The missing forms have since been discovered, boosting the campus’ total number of registered voters to 8,095 — the highest number of registrants from any junior college, California State University or University of California campus in the state. However, the documentation was submitted late to the Santa Barbara County Elections Office as cards must be turned in to the county three days after completion.
According to Associate Dean of Students Debbie Fleming, first-time registrants of Santa Barbara County can still vote in the mid-term elections if they file a petition with the Santa Barbara County Elections Office by 8 p.m., Nov. 2. Students are encouraged to take their voter registration stub to the office when completing paperwork.
“For people who were registering for the first time in Santa Barbara County, they would have to go down to the elections office to fill out a petition,” Fleming said. “Once they have done that, then they can vote provisionally.”
Voters will be able to cast a provisional ballot, which will be reviewed by a judge one week after the election to determine the validity of the vote.
However, those who are re-registering due to an address, party affiliation or name change can vote provisionally at any polling location.
Doug Wagoner, Associated Students External Vice President of Statewide Affairs, said this incident should not discourage future voter registration.
“Everyone who was a part of the Voter Registration Volunteer Coalition worked extremely hard and was very organized with what happened,” Wagoner said. “It was an unfortunate mistake, but as soon as we realized that there were forms that had not been turned in on time we immediately reacted to rectify the situation.”
With over 8,000 registration forms collected, Fleming said it is impossible to identify the source of the error.
“There is a coalition of organizations such as Campus Democrats, Campus Republicans, the Green Party and a number of volunteers who come together to manage non-partisan registration,” Fleming said. “We also get a lot of people who come onto campus and get paid to register people to vote. We do not actually know who was responsible for the forms.”
Additionally, Wagoner said the coalition is striving to reverse the blunder. The Office of Student Life has volunteered to contact everyone who has been affected by the situation to inform them of their options.
“I do not think anyone is personally to blame, but we are definitely doing our best to make it right,” Wagoner said. “At the end of the day, every single person who was a part of this coalition wants to get as many students registered to vote as possible and as many students to vote in the poll as possible.”
Those with questions are encouraged to call the Office of Student Life at (805) 893-7884.