Pushing The Ballot


David Conley | New University

Representatives from UC Irvine administration, ASUCI and CALPIRG kicked off Welcome Week last Tuesday by announcing their cooperative campaign to have at least 7,000 students registered to vote by this fall’s elections.

Manny Rin, the CALPIRG Campaign Coordinator for UCI, pointed particularly to easier online registration options as a way to encourage students to register.

“We are working to get as many students registered as possible,” Rin said.

“A lot will be determined in the next six weeks who will be president, and many measures that will affect students. Here in California there are 3 million college students. We can raise our voices by just turning out to vote.”

According to Rin, CaliforniaStudentvote.org is an online voter registration tool developed in partnership with Rock the Vote and the University of California Students Association (UCSA). Rin pointed out its easy-to-use interface as a strong incentive for students to take the time to register.

Sandy Jones, the Executive Director of Student Government and Student Media, affirmed that the administration’s efforts for voter registration and education would be “very in-line” with those of CALPIRG and ASUCI.

“I am here representing a non-partisan committee called UCI Vote,” said Jones. “We have three very simple goals: register 4,000 voters; ensure ample opportunities for the UCI community to be informed about the election; and make sure all of our registered and informed voters make it to the polls in November.”

Jones also outlined several events ASUCI has scheduled that would incorporate a “fun” aspect into the elections season, including debate-viewing parties and candidate forums, where students would have the opportunity to meet some of the individuals on the November ballot.

Other events include a debate between two UCI professors on Oct. 18 as well as a viewing party of the “Rumble in the Air Conditioned Auditorium,” a debate between Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly on Oct. 6.

Andrea Gaspar, the ASUCI Executive Vice  President, said her office is partnering with the Associated Graduate Students and the UCI Vote committee to have 40 percent of the student population registered to vote.

“We’re working to get the most students registered in UCI history,” Gaspar said.

“This is a crucial year for the university. We have to stand up for higher education. If students don’t turn out to vote, we will [see the] repercussions in our funding.”

Gaspar further mentioned that being aware of the issues is just as important as submitting a ballot in November.

“It is important to highlight that it is not just about coming out and voting, but being educated and knowing that propositions have changed the route of higher education in the last few years,” Gaspar said.

First-year students, Gaspar emphasized, would be the most affected group out of the students at UCI, especially when it comes to how much they will pay for their education.

“I remember coming in as a first year, and my tuition was 40 percent less than what I am paying now,” she said. “It is such a shame that first-years who are excited to be here […] will be graduating with more loans than ever before. Students are paying more than the state for their education. We cannot tolerate having first-years paying more than what we’re paying right now for the next four years.”

Gaspar expanded on the different events ASUCI has lined up over the next few weeks, including the debate viewing parties as well as an event regarding civil rights and the disenfranchisement of people of color.

“It is important to educate students on every single aspect of the spectrum regarding elections, getting them registered and making sure they come out to vote in November,” Gaspar said.