ASUCI Aims to Increase Voter Education

Last week, in an effort to register last-minute voters for the upcoming California special election, the Associated Students of UC Irvine held an event titled ‘Be Heard, Not Herded.’
On Oct. 20, along Ring Road in front of Cornerstone Cafe, UCI students debated for and against propositions on the upcoming ballot in an effort to raise voter registration and educate the young adults by focusing on issues that concern students.
The event rallied students from UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego to UCI.
The main focus of the event was a debate which pitted students from campus clubs including the College Republicans, the Young Democrats, and the Advocates for Choice against each other in a discussion of the upcoming propositions. Members of ASUCI passed out voter guides while goats were displayed wearing bright blue shirts reading, ‘Get Out’ on the front and ‘To Vote’ on the back.
Although ASUCI had anticipated only about 50 voter registrations, they received approximately 200.
KUCI campus radio broadcasted the debates over the air, which focused on Proposition 73 (requiring parental notification and a waiting period on abortions for minors), Proposition 75 (restricting political contributions by public unions) and Proposition 76 (setting state spending and school funding limits and giving the governor greater discretion over state expenditures).
Zachary Avallone, executive vice president of ASUCI and coordinator of ‘Be Heard, Not Herded,’ felt that it was vital for students to be informed before voting.
‘Why go out and vote if you don’t know what you’re voting for?’ Avallone said. ‘We really wanted to find something that the students buy into, so they’ll have a reason to go out and vote.’
Nathan Lee, vice president of student services for ASUCI, was grateful for the opportunity to help educate students.
‘If we can inform students of their power, we’ve done a lot,’ Lee said.
Many students were supportive of the voting drive, including Jennifer Arjona, a second-year English major.
‘I didn’t even know there was an election coming up, but now I have to register to vote on the abortion one because that’s really important to me,’ Arjona said.
Christina Winklemann, a second-year film major, did not feel inclined to vote, despite ASUCI’s efforts.
‘Regardless of events like these, I just don’t have time to learn all about [propositions], register and then go and vote,’ Winklemann said.
Until voting takes place on Nov. 8, ASUCI will continue to sponsor activities to encourage students to vote.
An ASUCI-sponsored competition will award $125 to the campus club that registers the most new voters.
Avallone also plans to call and e-mail registered voters on Nov. 8 to remind them of their duties as voters.
‘This election is going to have a lasting effect on us,’ Avallone said. ‘It’s really important to highlight both sides [of the propositions] to the students, and get them out to vote.’