Isla Vista’s Biko Garage held a voting information night on Monday, helping students to become familiar with the measures that will be on the Nov. 6 midterm ballot tomorrow.
The infonight focused specifically on the statewide ballot propositions. Event organizers provided students with the overview, background, pros, cons and endorsements of Proposition 1 through Proposition 12, excluding Proposition 9.
Proposition 9 was removed from the ballot in July by the California Supreme Court.
Rain Kahsu, organizer of the Biko Voting Infonight and fourth-year political science student, said she wanted to hold this event after speaking to her housemates about the election and realizing that “we were all freaking out.”
“I just wanted to have an event where I could be with members of the community and my friends and just talk about this kind of stuff that’s kind of scary. There’s so much information,” Kahsu said.
Approximately 20 people attended and discussed each proposition, asking questions about the issues, providing clarifications and offering personal opinions.
For example, one of the propositions discussed was Proposition 8, which would limit the amount of money kidney dialysis clinics could charge for treatment.
As with the other propositions, organizers went over the pros and cons, stating that clinics would be prevented from treating patients differently based on what type of insurance they have, so the proposition could result in the closure of “many” California dialysis clinics.
Many attendees had their phones out throughout the event, googling specific proposition language and facts to aid the conversation.
At one point, an attendee frustrated with the complex and vague language of the propositions exclaimed, “Why is it so difficult to fucking vote?”
While the remark was met with laughs, the sentiment was echoed by several students at the event.
Kahsu hoped students attending the event would come and “gain information they didn’t know and be able to ask questions” and “be able to talk about how they’re going to vote or things they’ve heard.”
For fourth-year global studies major Naima Sudjian-Carlisle, Monday’s event was an opportunity to be involved with a community event where students could learn from each other.
“I procrastinated in researching what’s on the ballot, what people to vote for and everything like that,” Sudjian-Carlisle said. “I was really glad to hear different perspectives on propositions. I’m now informed for voting tomorrow, but I still want to do some research tonight.”
Other attendees agreed that it was helpful to get together with community members to talk about the ballot before voting tomorrow.
“The proposition language can be really confusing, so it’s helpful to just be in a group with other people and go through them to kind of pick them apart to see what is actually the intention of each proposition,” said Solmaz Soleimani, a UCSB Class of 2018 graduate.
Kat Ghodoosian, a third-year political science student, emphasized the importance of being an informed voter. She said the event helped her “get more of a nuanced perspective.”
“I think it’s one thing to go out and register and vote, but it’s another thing to be an informed voter,” Ghodoosian said. “UCSB students should feel responsible not only to be registered and to go out to the polls, but they should also be responsible for knowing what’s on the ballot.”
Attendees left the event around 6:30 p.m., with several promising to post their further research on the propositions on the Biko Garage Facebook page before the election the next day.
Kahsu was optimistic about how the info night had gone, stating she hoped attendees were able to walk away “a little more informed and a little less anxious.”
“Vote and, even more than that, try to be more engaged in politics and with your community,” she said.
The 2018 midterm elections are on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Local poll stations can be found here.
Correction: Kahsu’s name was spelled incorrectly in a previous version of this article due to an editing error.