If you pass through the Arbor on your way to or from class, you may have seen the signs: “Please Don’t Take My Vote, Mr. Pappas.”
In 2008, Steve Pappas lost the election for County Supervisor to Doreen Farr and, dissatisfied with such an outcome, spent the next three years in court trying to get the votes of Isla Vista residents and UCSB students thrown out. These attempts did not suc- ceed, so Pappas is back for a second run. His audacity to come to our campus and try to buy our votes with ping-pong balls after trying to disenfranchise us is honestly laughable. The problem is, Pappas is not alone. Pappas’ attempt to do away the student vote is not an isolated, single incident. This is
not one politician being upset over a loss. This is a trend. It’s nationwide and spreading like an epidemic.
Currently, 38 states are considering new legislation that is masqueraded as attempts to prevent voter fraud. Almost all of this legislation is really an attempt to disenfran- chise minorities and students. Wisconsin recently passed a Republican-backed law that prohibits students from voting on campus with their university IDs. Students are now required to present government-issued IDs with a valid address and expiration date. Florida’s new law requires participants in voter registration to register in advance with the state, a debilitating blow to college drives.
If these measures don’t seem scary, then consider the legislation New Hampshire’s Republicans attempted to push through last year. HB 176 would have prevented stu- dents from voting in their college towns unless they resided there prior to matriculation. Imagine having to drive home for several hours and then back on a Tuesday in order to vote. One of the avid backers of this bill, Republican Assembly Speaker William O’Brien, said in a speech that his reasoning behind supporting such a bill had to do with the fact that students are “foolish,” vote “as a liberal” and “vote their feelings.” This is like saying that if someone does not vote for a Republican, then they are foolish, and therefore they should not vote, without actually saying it. The slew of such anti-student legislation proposals in an election year is only more evidence that the conservatives are scared — scared that young people will vote and that young people will not vote for them.
I am not telling you whom to vote for. But I do suggest that before casting a ballot on June 5 you think long and hard about what sort of politician you want in office, which politician will fight for your rights, and which politician will try to turn California into New Hampshire or Florida.
Alexandra Lototsky is a third-year political science and Slavic languages and literatures major.