Isla Vista is my home. I grew up here and I started politically organizing in this community when I was 17 years old. I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to engaging Isla Vista in its own governance and future so any attempt at disenfranchising or intimidating Isla Vistans from participating in the decisions that affect our home makes me angry.
You would think that making it easier for citizens to vote would be something for everyone in a democracy to celebrate, Democrats and Republicans. But not everyone is on board with this fundamental principal of democracy. Most certainly not Bruce Porter, candidate for 3rd District Supervisor. From his choice of staff, I am now afraid that Bruce Porter, who wants to represent you as 3rd District Supervisor, won’t protect your voting rights and would prefer you don’t vote at all.
In 2008 Conservative candidate Steve Pappas lost to Supervisor Doreen Farr in the race for 3rd District supervisor by 806 votes out of more than 35,000 cast. His “personal assistant” Terry Baxter, managed his campaign in UCSB/Isla Vista. Based on their perception that he performed better in UCSB/Isla Vista precincts (despite losing by a 2:1 ratio), they demanded a costly recount.
They gained only ONE vote in the recount, so they sued to have ALL 9,700 UCSB/Isla Vista votes tossed out, claiming that mass voter registration and voter fraud had occurred. Pappas and Baxter lost. And then they appealed, again and again, but they never produced a single piece of evidence proving voter fraud. Supervisor Farr successfully defended all the way up to the Supreme Court our right to vote here. In the end Pappas and Baxter lost every single court challenge. The trial judge wrote that this case was, “frivolous and tantamount to an intentional misleading of the Court.” The Santa Ynez Valley News declared this case was, “a legal farce.”
Now it’s 2016 and the same Terry Baxter is back, recently hired by Bruce Porter who’s, running for 3rd District Supervisor against Joan Hartmann. And under the guise of “voter privacy” Baxter is now leading Porter’s effort to stop students from registering and voting. The fact that Porter hired Baxter is proof that he doesn’t have any intention of truly listening and supporting the people he is running to represent.
Baxter’s main tactic is distributing written warnings and publishing ads telling students that simply the act of registering to vote risks voters’ privacy. This is ironic since she is the same person who in 2009 subpoenaed UCSB for ALL student enrollment records, including, their names, address and citizenship status. She is also encouraging students to register back “home,” as if Isla Vista is not our home.
As a long-standing community organizer in Isla Vista, I know that attempting to deprive students of their voting rights is an old and dishonored tradition. However Pappas, Baxter and now Porter have taken this gutter practice to new lows. Truth is, fraud in registration and in voting is nearly non-existent in the U.S. and it’s non-existent here. That’s what judge after judge said in ruling against Baxter and her crew. And that’s still the case. With their unfounded calls encouraging students to register “back home” and not to trust convenient, local registration drives, Bruce Porter and Terry Baxter are not trying to protect your privacy. They are trying to keep you from voting. It’s disingenuous and fundamentally un-American. These are politically motivated tactics aimed at depriving young people of your constitutional right to vote where you live. Don’t fall for it.
Assemblymember Das Williams represents the 37th District of California, including Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, and is a UCSB alumnus. Williams authored Assembly Bill 3, aimed at creating the Isla Vista Community Services District (CSD) in order to provide infrastructure and services to the residents of I.V. The assemblymember announced in April 2015 his candidacy to run for the Supervisor of the First District of Santa Barbara in the 2016 election.
Thanks Das, Your words give me hope for a better future for Isla Vista.
So Baxter was nothing more than a witness in the lawsuit? And what’s wrong with telling students that they have an option to vote at home? Some students might want to vote at home. I think it’s the IV political machine that is being dishonest by omission, by leading students to believe that they can only vote in Isla Vista and not in their home districts.
Students ARE being told they have an option to vote at home! When you live somewhere, for a length of time that lasts anywhere from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 years or more, THAT PLACE IS YOUR HOME! Your parents home is where they live. YOUR home is where YOU live. You are affected by what goes on where you live. In my opinion, you should exercise your constitutional right to vote in the place where you are affected by the political decisions that are made in that community because they affect you directly. You can… Read more »
So do you believe that students should NOT have a choice to register in either place? And that Porter is doing something wrong by letting students know that they do, in fact, have a choice?
She’s a lot more than a witness in a lawsuit. First, as a witness she presented “evidence” that the judge called frivolous and misleading. Second, during the appeals, she and Pappas threatened students’ privacy by seeking personal information about over 9,000 voters. And that action, threatening privacy, creates a chilling effect on all voters. But more than all that, Baxter is circulating flyers that suggest that people helping students sign up to vote are up to no good. Baxter is trying to keep people from registering where it’s convenient, hoping they will just give up. These tactics are disgusting and… Read more »
A person running for a local office is encouraging students to register outside of his district. If your politics dictate that there is nothing strange about that, maybe take a walk.
I wonder if there is any truth to the rumor that the District Attorney’s office is looking into Porter’s campaign to interfere with voting rights.
Does anyone believe that if the school were a military academy voting majority Republican that Porter and his operatives would be encouraging students to vote somewhere else?
Das is right, Porter has no respect for opinions that disagree with his, and no respect for our right to express them at the ballot box.
Porter is just trying to manipulate the election. I’m not taking his bait, and will register and vote here. Def not going to vote for a former Corp of Engineers lifer that’s in the pocket of oil and pave-over-paradise interests.
Isla Vista is at stake.
Right now is a pretty pivotal point in our college community’s history; if you haven’t noticed the “I.V. Self Governance Initiative” campaign, gives the Isla Vista community a stronger voice in Santa Barbara County.
If you’ve ever struggled to find parking, got pissed off by all the new buildings blocking your ocean/mountain views (which you pay extra rent for) or been taken advantage of by I.V. landlords, then you should probably vote for a county supervisor that recognizes your needs.