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Getting out the student vote

October 5, 2012

Woman with clip board with a man with a "vote" T-shirt

Bradley Bottoms, a senator with the Associated Students of UC Davis, helps Angeline Liu, a second-year student, register to vote for the first time during a registration drive for the Nov. 6 election. (Julia Ann Easley/UC Davis photo)

College is a time of firsts — including, for many young adults, casting a vote for president. At UC Davis, student leaders are working to register their classmates to vote in the upcoming election — and encouraging them to exercise that right.

Efforts include holding registration drives on campus, offering online voter registration and organizing candidate forums — the first with U.S. Representative John Garamendi on Monday.

Eddie Yoo of Pleasanton, a fourth-year student majoring in communication and sociology, is director of legislation and policy for the Associated Students of UC Davis. "I believe it is my duty to educate my colleagues on the issues that matter to us," he said.

UC Davis enrolls some 32,000 students a year. Eligible voters can chose to register using their place of residence while at school — Yolo County for most of them — or their home community.

The ASUCD has invited candidates for California’s newly drawn 3rd Congressional District to talk about the federal budget, education and health care.

Garamendi, a Democrat, will speak at 7 p.m. on Monday in the multipurpose room on the second floor of the Student Community Center. A second forum will be scheduled with Republican challenger Kim Vann, currently a member of the Colusa County Board of Supervisors.

The student government is also working with CALPIRG, a public interest group, to register students. Representatives are staffing registration tables in the campus dining halls and on the Quad and have been at major events for new students.

Bradley Bottoms, an ASUCD senator and a double major in political science and sociology from Pacifica, said the drive has already registered 400 voters and will continue.

The ASUCD is also partnering with CALPIRG to offer online voter registration through the student government's website.

Registered voters who live on campus will be assigned one of two polling locations: Room 210 of the Memorial Union Building or the Russell Park Community Center study lounge. Information will be on voters' sample ballot or voter notification cards.

Recent UC Davis research shows that while registration among young adults in California has been growing, it still lags behind the rate for the overall population. Just 49.4 percent of eligible California 18- to 24-year-olds had registered to vote in 2010, versus 77.5 percent for the population at large.  

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