The “Power of the Vote” event on Monday allowed students from all walks of life to sit down and talk about the upcoming election and the importance of voting, said Meghan Waymire, Associated Students’ chief governmental officer.
Associated Students, Project Rebound and the Titan Dreamers Resource Center hosted the “Power of the Vote” event in the Diversity Initiatives and Resource Center.
The event let students review the ballot in small groups, with professors and students explaining the effects of several propositions and the viewpoints of different candidates on the issues. Waymire also offered voter registration material.
“Two-thousand students (said they) had already registered to vote, and I want to say around another thousand students pressed the register to vote button online,” Waymire said about a recent survey posted on Titan Online.
Saba Ansari, last year’s Associated Students’ chief government officer, described how the seed was originally planted for the idea.
“About two years ago, one of my friends at a different campus did a similar event, so I was like, this is a great idea. But it was too late for the 2016 election because things were already done,” Ansari said.
She said she was surprised at the questions that were asked.
“I feel like that since (the Associated Students) are so involved, we already know so much, but a lot of people would ask things like, ‘What does the lieutenant governor do? Why are there props?’ It was nice to feel like we were actually giving them answers,” Ansari said.
Sarah Hill, associate professor of political science, said she thought the event was unique.
“I’ve participated in a lot of events where we go over propositions on the ballot, but this was neat because it was more of a discussion and the participants could ask a lot of questions,” Hill said.
She said most students aren’t aware of how the actual propositions get on the ballot.
“We do a very poor job of voter education about state and local offices. The basic questions we had today were ‘What is this office? What do they do?’ Folks didn’t even know how they got on the ballot,” she said.
Romarilyn Rolston, program coordinator for CSUF’s Project Rebound, shared information about voter disenfranchisement and voting rights for the incarcerated.
“(We) prepared a fact sheet around felony disenfranchisement, voting suppression and voting rights. We talked about what that looks like in California and across the country,” Rolston said.
Rolston said it’s important voters educate themselves about the candidates running for office.
“Having a greater representation of minorities and women is important, but make sure folks are qualified and knowledgeable about the issues for Californians,” Rolston said. “Not just voting because we want to see more minorities in these positions, but that they’re actually going to have the best interests of the whole state.”
Ginny Oshiro, a junior criminal justice major and Project Rebound scholar, said she came to the event to support Project Rebound but learned more than she expected.
“It’s really nice to come to something like this that has all the propositions and all the candidates laid out,” Oshiro said. “Even if I don’t form a solid opinion here, then I have more information and I know what I need to investigate further before I vote.”