As community organizations and volunteers hit the streets today across the U.S. for National Voter Registration Day, Associated Students, Inc. hosted its own efforts yesterday to get Cal State Long Beach students registered to vote.
The effort led by Lobby Corps, an ASI sub-committee, finds ways to discuss and craft a legislative agenda that addresses issues facing students in the California public education system. Representatives called across the University Student Union lobby, asking if students were registered to vote or if they needed to update their voter information.
“The upcoming election has numerous propositions and two different presidential candidates [who] students should pay attention to,” ASI senator-at-large and Lobby Corps member Hilda Jurado said. “Students don’t take into consideration that some of these propositions affect them and we want to get the word out.”
One proposition that will appear on the California ballot in November is Proposition 55. According to Ballotpedia, a website that compiles nonpartisan information about politics at all levels of government, the proposition would continue the tax rates approved by voters in 2012 under Proposition 30. The ballot measure passed by voters six years ago used an increase in personal income taxes paid by individuals and families with incomes over $250,000 to fund education and health care programs such as Medi-Cal.
Jurado said fighting apathy toward the political process is one of the hardest things to do, noting that students often respond to voter registration events with cynicism.
“I just remind them that this is a democratic process and that their vote really does count,” she said.
Lobby Corps member Alex Bellenger echoed Jurado’s concerns.
“A lot of people feel like they don’t have a voice in voting, but they actually do,” she said. “Even if you don’t like the major candidates in the national election, you can still vote on the propositions that affect you as a student.”
Freshman applied mathematics major John Him was one student who registered to vote Monday afternoon.
“I feel if I ever want to complain about not liking something the way it is, I feel like I don’t have the right to complain if I didn’t register to vote,” Him said. “If I didn’t try to make a difference, then it is what it is.”
Him is leaning toward voting for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in November, saying that Trump will shake things up for the economy.
“I feel that the Democrats didn’t do a great job in the last eight years. I feel like we need someone like Trump to change things up.”
Lobby Corps will hold four more voter registration drives leading up to California’s voter registration deadline, Oct. 24. Bellenger said the group plans on scheduling more voter registration drives in the spring semester as well, in hopes of engaging more students to get involved in the political process.