By Ashley Duong
After the conclusion of the 2016 election cycle, ASUCI’s 60 by 16 commission is looking to rebrand, grow and continue to encourage students to be politically active.
60 by 16, a commission instituted in 2014 by then-ASUCI president Reza Zomorrodian, set out to register 60 percent of undergraduates by the Oct. 24 voter registration deadline this year. Ultimately, the commission was able to register 6,639 students, which is slightly over a third of the undergraduate population.
“I think that’s a pretty good number, and I’m happy with it,” said ASUCI President and former 60 by 16 Commissioner Tracy La. That doesn’t include all the students that registered on their own, so the number of students actually registered is probably higher.”
After considering the success of the commission in this past election cycle, La recognized the importance of continuing to register voters at UCI, especially after having personally worked for the midterm elections of 2014, where the country experienced a voter turnout rate of 37 percent, one of the lowest since the 1940s. After the 2014 elections, La saw the need to encourage students to take part in voting.
“I think the most important thing that came out of this was that we set a precedent … and got the momentum going on campus for students to go out and vote,” she said.
To get a more accurate number of how many students were registered to vote this year beyond those who registered through 60 by 16, ASUCI hopes to conduct a survey including the 17,000 undergraduates at UCI.
Moving forward, the 60 by 16 commission will continue its efforts to get students energized for elections and registered to vote, but will operate under a new name that has yet to be decided. La hopes that the commission will continue to grow and that the campus will retain the enthusiasm surrounding political activism sparked by efforts of the commission.
Although the commission plans to rebrand itself, ASUCI will continue to partner with many organizations that contributed to 60 by 16’s success as a new commission, including The Korean Resource Center, Student Affairs, Communications and Government Relations, the Association of Graduate Students and various other groups.
“60 by 16 was really possible because of the support of all of these groups, so we’re really thankful to them and hope to continue to collaborate with them in the future,” said La of the role of the various organizations.
“For me, it’s all about autonomy and giving people a choice, an opportunity to be informed about what is going on … I know there are a lot of students who might not believe in the system, but the commission is really about pushing people to care and be civically engaged,” La said.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced was that people didn’t want to have to choose a presidential candidate to vote for, but there were a lot of important propositions and down ballot voting this year that can have a lot of impact … that’s why I feel it’s really important for students to be informed about the issues.”