Campus groups plan to erect tents, help point student voters to polling stations

A student votes at a polling station at Unit 2.

A student votes at a polling station at Unit 2.

Following a collaborative campaign to register and educate UC Berkeley students to vote in Tuesday’s election, campus organizations are now making a final effort to ensure that students know where to cast their votes.

In order to maximize the number of voters casting their ballots, the ASUC is pairing up with CALPIRG and the Cal Berkeley Democrats to set up tents on Sproul Plaza during the day on Tuesday to guide students and residents to their designated polling stations.

Students and residents who are registered to vote in Berkeley are advised to locate their designated polling stations by checking Vote 411, according to ASUC External Affairs Vice President Shahryar Abbasi.

Polling locations are dotted around the campus area, with many Southside residence halls and Oscar Wilde House, which is part of the Berkeley Student Cooperative, serving as stations.

If students are absentee voters or are registered to vote in cities other than Berkeley on Election Day, they are advised to visit a polling station in Berkeley to fill out a provisional ballot — a ballot cast when the voter’s eligibility is in question — that will be considered once the registered voters have been processed, Abbasi said.

“Make sure to go to the polls and vote early, know your rights as a voter and be informed about the issues on the ballot before you head to the polls,” Abbasi said.

Not knowing where to vote was an issue for students in the 2010 midterm elections, according to CalDems President Daniel Tuchler.

Students should have some form of federally issued identification with them, whether that is a driver’s license or student identification card, according to Tuchler. Although California does not require identification, having it will speed up the process, he said.

Berkeley College Republicans Executive Director Shawn Lewis advises students to double-check their polling locations, to arrive early and to bring their sample ballots to the voting booth in order to avoid impromptu decisions on complex issues.

“While most voters are well-informed about their presidential candidates by now, many likely have not closely reviewed important statewide ballot propositions,” Lewis said.

Around 8,000 people were registered to vote by a collective effort by the ASUC, CALPIRG and CalDems, and an estimated 10,000 students will be contacted about elections before the polls close, according to Dylan Clark, an intern working on CalPIRG’s New Voters Project.

“Just being reminded to vote by a parent or friend increases voter turnout by 5 percent — that is an extra 1400 students,” Clark said.

Students can watch the voting results together at an event hosted by the ASUC, the Graduate Assembly and the Matsui Center on Upper Sproul Plaza starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday night.