CSSA doubles its voter registration numbers in four years
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 19:10
Four years ago, the California State Student Association registered about 16,000 students for the upcoming election. Now, with a measure that could radically change Cal State University funding, CSSA has doubled that effort — resulting in 31,372 students registered.
CSSA Executive Director Miles Nevin attributed the jump in registered voters to not only the campaign planning by CSSA and the Associated Students organizations, but also to the relevance of Proposition 30 on the November ballot and its implications for the CSU.
Prop. 30, also known as Gov. Brown’s tax initiative, would raise income taxes for those earning more than $250,000 and the sales tax to prevent cuts to education. Should the tax initiative fail, the CSU would be hit with a $250 million trigger cut.
According to Nevin, CSSA coordinated voter registration efforts on a statewide level while Associated Students organizations executed voter registration drives locally. CSU campuses used a number of methods to reach out and encourage students to vote, from tabling on campus and conducting residence hall blitzes to making non-partisan presentations in classroom settings.
Associated Students Inc. Communications Coordinator Christina Esparza said the same strong effort was seen from ASI at Cal State Long Beach.
“I’m sure that happened across the CSUs as well,” Esparza said, “[Prop. 30] woke students up, and I think that’s why they decided to register.”
The 49ers Vote campaign at CSULB registered more than 2,000 new student voters, according to records from the ASI government office. The registration campaign originally aimed to register 4,900 students to vote.
“The numbers are a little bit skewed because some of the voters had registered on their own and not through the 49ers Vote drive, which makes it hard to gauge exactly how many CSULB students registered to vote,” Esparza said. “Our main goal was to get students to register, so however way they did that, we’re just happy they had.”
Alex Ortega, a junior political science major who registered to vote at his local DMV, said he thinks the government wants to cut out on education because students do not participate in elections.
“They think we’re not going to turn out,” Ortega said. “If you cut Medicare, seniors will react, and students are a lot harder to motivate.”
Andy Kiddoo, a junior music major who registered during a trip to Vons, had a different idea explaining why the 49ers Vote campaign results came up short.
“If [the university] accepts less and less students from here and more students from other countries because they will pay more, then of course there are less [of the student body] whom they can help register,” Kiddoo said. “I blame it all on the budget cuts.”
Some students who registered to vote, like junior accounting major Nick Zolla, said they feel that their votes do not count for much nonetheless.
“I registered at a community college campus,” Zollo said. “But if I did or didn’t vote though, would it really make a difference? In California, [my vote] might count, but nationally I don’t think it is very important.”
Esparza said she believes this year’s election is especially significant as there is something in the ballot that will directly affect CSULB, which could include a rebate of $498 to make up for the tuition increase they previously paid.
“Students need to understand that the closer the government is the more it affects you,” Esparza said. “If you vote and drive, politicians are going to court your vote, and it’s going to make things happen for you.”