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UC San Diego’s non-partisan Student Organized Voter Access Committee (SOVAC) is working to register 4,000 students by the California deadline of Oct. 24. Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Students Initiate Ambitious Get Out the Vote Campaign as Nov. 8 Election Nears

Campus will have eight polling places open for thousands to vote on Election Day

Massive voter registration efforts are underway at UC San Diego, as students from the nonpartisan Student Organized Voter Access Committee (SOVAC) race to register 4,000 students by the California deadline of Oct. 24.

SOVAC has registered more than 1,400 students since the campus’s move-in weekend in mid-September, and the organization has been making additional efforts through tabling, outreach events and debate parties. For the first time in UC San Diego history, it will also conduct door-to-door voter registration from Oct. 17 to 21.

SOVAC’s effort will culminate with a “Voterpalooza” event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 on campus at Library Walk in one last push to register as many students as possible.

“All students, new and returning, need to make sure they are properly registered to vote because it’s important to register every time you change your address,” said SOVAC executive director Liam Barrett. “We are trying to stress that students cannot only have a voice in the presidential election, but they are likely to have a big influence on state and local races. The more students are involved in local politics, the bigger influence they will have on how much rent they pay, how they get transportation to school and other key issues.”

Barrett, a political science major, said SOVAC is on target to register as many as 4,000 students by the California Oct. 24 deadline, in large part because of its new ability to conduct door-to-door registration, which has proven to be an effective method on other college campuses.

“We are very excited to bring voter registration to the doorsteps of students,” said Barrett, a sophomore at Thurgood Marshall College. “We will be able to communicate more effectively with students to encourage them to vote.”

The youth vote could have significant influence on this year’s election, according to Thad Kousser, chair of UC San Diego’s Department of Political Science.

“Young voters have a huge impact on this election if they don’t show up at the polls,” Kousser said. “We are not seeing the same kind of enthusiasm that we had with both of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, but the future that young voters will inherit is just as at stake as it was during those previous elections.”

Kousser said that UC San Diego students also have the potential to decide the outcome of many local races.

“There are a slew of ballot initiatives that students will have a big impact on, and those races are expected to be close enough for our students to swing,” he said.

He also echoed the importance of students ensuring they are properly registered to vote if they want to have a voice in this election.

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Students can register to vote at SOVAC’s “Voterpalooza,” on Monday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Library Walk.

“The turnout of young people in our last two presidential elections was actually lower than expected, as there are a lot of hurdles college students, who often move to place-to-place, have to overcome to get them grounded and actually show up at the polls.”

Barrett said he and other members of SOVAC have noticed fascinating voter registration trends with this year’s election.

“It’s been an interesting mix of students who have unfettered enthusiasm and those who are disillusioned by the process, but still want to vote,” Barrett said. “We’ve also seen more non-partisan voter registration among students.”

Kousser, members of SOVAC and hundreds of UC San Diego faculty and students are expected to participate in the “Election Night: A Political Party” event, coordinated by the Department of Political Science. The event will feature big-screen TVs, free food and drinks, and expert political commentary on state-by-state results of a riveting presidential campaign beginning at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the Great Hall.

UC San Diego will have eight polling places open on Election Day, Nov. 8. See details on the various locations below:

  • The Village: Building 2 Conference Room
  • Roosevelt & I-House: Middle Earth Lounge
  • Marshall: Fireside Lounge
  • Muir: Half-Dome Lounge
  • Revelle: PC West Level 2: Marshall College Room
  • Warren: Student Activity Center (SAC)
  • Sixth & Rita Atkinson: Sixth College Dogg House
  • Provisional-Only: PC West Level 2: Roosevelt College Room
    *Some locations are still awaiting confirmation and may be changed prior to Election Day.

For students who want to register to vote online, click here.