Cal State Fullerton’s Associated Students has launched its new Voter Registration Coalition with the goal of getting record numbers of CSUF students registered to vote for the midterm elections.
Cal State Fullerton is currently in first place with 191 students registered to vote. In second place, the University of San Diego has three students registered. As of publication, no other registered school in the competition has more than three.
Meghan Waymire, Associated Students’ chief governmental officer and third-year political science major, oversees the coalition. To do this, Waymire has used volunteer hours as an incentive to accumulate student volunteers to assist other students in the voting registration process.
Seven students on campus have already started getting involved by signing up as volunteers to assist students in the voter registration process.
Waymire said the coalition will also boost CSUF’s participation in the Ballot Bowl, a new project started by the California Lt. Governor in partnership with the Secretary of State and a coalition of nonprofit organizations. The competition is designed to motivate students to vote and increase the turnout of 18 to 24-year-olds on Election Day.
The Ballot Bowl competition is open to all California community colleges, California State Universities, Universities of California and private universities, but so far only six campuses are officially registered, including CSUF.
The competition began Monday, Aug. 20 and will continue through Monday, Oct. 22, just over two weeks before the Nov. 6 elections, according to the Ballot Bowl website.
In order to maintain a top spot in the competition, students must register to vote using a specific link available on the Titan Online portal under the tab ‘register to vote.’ Using this link to vote ensures each student’s registration is counted toward the Ballot Bowl competition.
Associated Students has partnered with clubs, greek life, several Associated Students commissions and on-campus volunteer clubs in order to inform students about the opportunities surrounding this new initiative.
“When we vote on things like initiatives, often times — young people — it falls on them harder than others,” said Pamela Fiber-Ostrow, Ph.D., a political science professor at CSUF.
“I think they have to be reminded to get out and make a difference because even if the vote doesn’t go in their favor on that particular day, it doesn’t mean their vote didn’t count.”
However, in increasing voter turnout, registration is only the first step. Only 12 percent of students between the ages of 18 to 21 turned out to vote even though about 62 percent of college students were registered in the 2014 midterm elections, according to research done by the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement,.
Lobby Corps is an on-campus advocacy commission run by Associated Students that lobbies legislatures on policies that could affect students. The corps is attempting to convey to students the importance of the propositions and the candidates listed on the Nov. 6 ballot and the effects they will have on higher education.
To help inform students, Associated Students is holding several informational sessions touching on topics like gun control and the Constitution.
“Learning what is on the ballot relates to students and student issues,” Waymire said. “We have a bunch of different events coming up. In late October we want to do a political fair that will educate students about what is on the ballot as well as engage them and introduce them to different organizations and clubs where they can get involved.”