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The Californian Aggie

ASUCD and CALPIRG hold voter registration drive on campus

AggiesVote promotes new online voter registration tools for students
By
STEPHANIE B. NGUYEN

Senator Bradley Bottoms helps fourth-year mechanical engineering student Hannah Zhu register to vote for the first time. Photo Credit: Brian Nguyen

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Registering to vote is now easier than ever with the launch of online voter registration in California that began Sept. 19.

With the national presidential elections in November quickly approaching, ASUCD and California Public Interest Group (CALPIRG) have joined forces to promote and facilitate voter registration among UC Davis undergraduates with AggiesVote.

The students behind AggiesVote hope to register as many students as possible, and in recent weeks AggiesVote has been a widespread force around campus, tabling at the dining commons, on the Quad and at various welcome week events. The coalition also hopes to expand their reach by partnering with student groups and Greek organizations in the coming weeks.

“College students are some of the most politically active and well-informed participants in our democracy, but they’re also very busy and occasionally let things like registration slip through the cracks,” said ASUCD senator and fifth-year political science and philosophy double major Justin Goss. “We’re ensuring this doesn’t happen by making registration as convenient as possible for them so we can usher these savvy political voices into the voting booth where they belong.”

In order for the drive to have a campus-wide effect, ASUCD has formed a coalition with CALPIRG, whose lead campaign this year is the New Voters Project, a continuous effort to register undergraduate students to vote.

In addition, AggiesVote will hold a forum where students can learn about Rep. John Garamendi’s platforms on Oct. 8, as well as co-sponsor a screening of the presidential debate. Students can register to vote before, during and after any of these events.

“The goal is to not only get students involved in democracy, but also to have them be informed and educated voters,” said New Voters Project campaign coordinator Donna Farvard, a third-year neurobiology, physiology and behavioral studies major.

ASUCD senators Bradley Bottoms and Kabir Kapur, who have played a key role in organizing the drive, agreed.

“Recently, there have been many bills and propositions going through the state government that directly affect students — most notably Proposition 30,” said Bottoms, a third-year political science and sociology double major.

Kapur also discussed the possibility of Proposition 30 not passing in the November elections.

“Proposition 30 is an important issue on this November’s ballot for students because if it fails tuition will go up 20 percent in January,” said Kapur, a third-year political science and philosophy double major.

Goss continued to address the big picture.

“The state of California education is still in decline,” Goss said.  “Increasing undergraduate participation in the voting process allows the student voice to more overtly dominate the political sphere and forces legislators to cater to the preferences of students if they want to get reelected.  Therefore, we believe registering more students to vote could facilitate better treatment for California education by the legislature.”

AggiesVote will continue until the voter registration deadline on Monday, Oct. 22.

STEPHANIE B. NGUYEN can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.