As the 2016 presidential election approaches, ASUCI’s 60 by 16 commission is continuing its campaign to register 60 percent of its undergraduate population to vote by this year’s registration deadline, Oct. 24. In the last two weeks alone, over 2,500 students have been registered.
The 60 by 16 initiative began in 2014 with then ASUCI president, Reza Zomorrodian, and Parshan Khosravi, ASUCI’s 2015-2016 president, wanting to not only increase voter turnout among UCI students, but also generate the highest turnout in UCI history. Both recognized that the issue of low voter turnout stemmed from low voter registration rates.
ASUCI president Tracy La has been involved in the campaign since its inception. ASUCI is still working on determining exactly how many students are registered, but La is confident the goal will be met by the deadline.
“I was an intern in 2014 when this initiative first began,” said La. “[I] became commissioner its second year, and then [I became ASUCI] President [and] campaign manager for this third and final year, and I’ve seen the efforts and enthusiasm around this campaign rise exponentially. Every year we register more and more students.”
Over the past couple years the 60 by 16 Commission has hosted many events to get more students registered to vote. In ASUCI’s three part Campus Debate Series last year, UCI’s on-campus political organizations, College Republicans at UCI, College Democrats at UCI, Young Americans for Liberty and Berneaters, debated on national issues and the merits of the 2016 presidential candidates. Last spring, ASUCI also hosted the Housing Games, a competition between the various housing communities to see who could register the most students to vote. The event also included debates and programs to educate students on policies and laws that may affect them such as funding of higher education and marijuana legalization. Just last week, 60 by 16 held a screening of the first presidential debate between candidates Trump and Clinton. The campaign will host a screening of the first vice presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 4.
60 by 16 has also partnered with different organizations such as Indi.com and the Korean Resource Center, as well as Student Housing at UCI, to directly register students to vote.
In addition to voting in presidential elections, La advocates increased involvement in local and state elections.
“While I think it is important for students to vote in presidential elections,” said La. “I believe that for many students, local and state elections are often the most significant because these elections will likely affect their lives more directly. The policies that presidents put in place will have a direct impact on everyone, and I believe it is more so the case this year than before, but I believe everyone’s vote will have a more direct impact on local and state initiatives.”
La also ensures that although the 2016 presidential campaign is ending, she will continue to promote voter registration among students.
“During my campaign for ASUCI President, one of my goals was to continue the work that 60 by 16 established this year, and so I am working with my team on determining a new name and branding to ensure this. Voter registration and getting out the vote is something I am extremely passionate about, so I will always continue promoting voter registration. Especially during this time when people between the ages of 18 to 35 now make up the largest voting bloc in the entire country, but we have yet to fully encompass this fact.”