After months of work across the California State University, the California State Student Association (CSSA) announced in a recent press release that a total of 31,372 new voters were registered in California.
With the November election looming nearer and propositions that would directly affect the CSU on the ballot, Associated Students Inc. (ASI) and the CSSA worked tirelessly to get students registered to vote before the Oct. 22 deadline.
Campuses across the system agreed on a goal of registering at least 10 percent of their student bodies, according to the press release. Schools such as San Diego State and San Francisco State hit over the mark. Overall CSSA is calling the effort to register voters a success.
“I am proud of our organization’s efforts and those of the student leaders throughout the CSU in registering over 30,000 new eligible California voters,” said Pedro Ramirez, vice president of legislative affairs for CSSA, in the press release. “This shows that CSU students are committed to protecting our state’s system of higher education by voting for Prop. 30 and voting for candidates that support the CSU.”
For Cal State Fullerton, 10 percent would account for nearly 4,000 students.
According to ASI’s Chief Governmental Officer Kayla Coriaty, the final count came out to be 2,210 students registered to vote, more than double the initial goal of 1,000 students. This was achieved through various tabling and events held throughout the semester up to the deadline.
“We tabled every day for the month before voter registration closed and we had it available at all of our events,” said Coriaty. They also spoke out in classes and brought registration cards along with them.
The biggest event held in the voter registration effort at CSUF was an ASI Voter Fair Cook-Out, in collaboration with Government Relations, that took place Oct. 17. Proponents and opponents of the propositions were invited, as well as local candidates and advocacy groups, all in an effort to get students to understand why their vote is important.
“I think it’s important that students vote, because if we don’t, we’re never going to matter to our legislatures,” Coriaty said. “I’ve been in legislative visits where a legislature has literally said that, students are not the constituents they cater to because we don’t tell them what we want.”
Coriaty said even if a student feels like their one vote won’t really matter to bigger issues like the presidential election, they still matter for items like propositions, where just a few votes can mean the difference for their passage.
In this registration campaign, the Internet had a huge impact as well. ASI posted links on social media sites like Facebook in order to reach students easier. According to Coriaty, more than 1,000 of the new registered voters from CSUF, which comes out to at least half of the total number, came from those done online.
In online registration, CSUF came in second behind San Francisco State, Coriaty said.
“Voter registration is always hard on this campus because we’re a commuter campus and it’s hard to pin students down, but having the online tool specifically for Cal State Fullerton really helped out a lot. I’m really pleased that we were able to have online registration available to our student body and we hope to continue to utilize this tool in the future,” said ASI President Dwayne Mason.
The second phase of this voter effort, referred to as voter mobilization, will continue from now through election day.
According to CSSA President David Allison, the voter mobilization phase will focus more on campuses individually. CSSA will still help in any way possible, Allison said, but since the entity itself cannot be on every campus and because they do not know each campus as well as the student leaders do, this effort will be led on a campus-by-campus basis.
“Students are going to be affected whether they vote or not, but if they vote they can have a positive effect,” Allison said.
With only a week until the election, these new efforts will focus on educating students on the issues and getting them out to the polls to make informed votes Nov. 6.