ASUCD hosts Election Extravaganza today at Memorial Union

As National Election Day, today, approached this month, UC students have heard from administrative, government and student leaders for a final push to have students register to vote and to pass Proposition 30.

The proposition, on today’s ballot, will have a direct impact on UC students, as an estimated $2,400 will be added to tuition.

ASUCD senators have organized various events to rally students to vote and have hosted a forum featuring University of California Student Regent Jonathan Stein and Student Regent-designate Cinthia Flores in the ASUCD Coffee House. They spoke about the increase in student tuition and the direct effects of this year’s election on students.

Today senators are holding the ASUCD National Election Day Extravaganza, which will feature free pins, stickers and food to student voters.

“It’s sad — a lot of students actually think that the election is on November 10, or some other day, so we’re working to make sure that people realize when the election actually is,” said ASUCD Senator Bradley Bottoms.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has also reached out to students and sent a letter via email to the campus community, after submitting the letter for publication in The Aggie.

Katehi stated that she hoped to see as many students exercising their right to vote as possible.

“As part of that experience, it is important that you be informed about the ballot and its consequences, cast your vote and let your voice be heard … For instance, Proposition 30, which calls for a temporary increase in the state sales tax and income taxes on high earners, could determine if higher education in California loses another $500 million in state funding. If the measure fails, it will likely result in tuition increases and further cuts to higher education programs and personnel,” the letter stated.

Students were also offered the option to register to vote on the SISWeb website, providing a convenient way for students who missed the mail-in deadline to register online.

“I think everyone that can vote should vote because I believe it is your civic duty to do so, and because there are those all over the world that do not have the right to vote and it is an incredible privilege to have,” said ASUCD Senator Kabir Kapur.

On Oct. 16, Gov. Jerry Brown offered the unique opportunity to speak with student newspaper representatives about Prop. 30 and their involvement in this year’s elections.

“The UCs may even lose more money because there’s a certain tuition buyout that might be lost so there’s big stakes in the Proposition 30 election,” Brown told The Aggie.

Kapur said that even though many students are not able to contribute money to pay for campaigns, they are able to vote in large blocks and influence elections.

“Those who serve in Washington and Sacramento only speak two languages: money to pay for their campaigns and votes to get elected,” he said.

Eddie Yoo, ASUCD director of legislation and policy, said that it is important that students take initiative in this year’s election, specifically because UC Davis is considerably close to California’s capitol.

“Being so close to Sacramento, we are the leaders for all the students in California,” he said.

The ASUCD Election Extravaganza is taking place on the Memorial Union patio from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature a DJ from KDVS, Gunrock, Aggie Pack, an a cappella group and a poll for people that live on campus, as well.

“Voting is your most basic democratic right … Students really do care, and we just have to show everyone that … There are tons of resources online [and] friends are good sources to make sure you are informed,” said Naomi Flagg, CALPIRG campus organizer and recent UC Berkeley alumna.

The polls do not close until 8 p.m. tonight.  Students can go to CaiforniaStudentVote.org to find out their polling place.

A community watch night of the presidential election results will also be held tonight at 6 p.m. at the multi-purpose room of the Student Community Center. The event is hosted by the Student Recruitment and Retention Center, Cross Cultural Center and Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission.  The event will include presentations about the propositions that passed or failed as well as raffle prizes and games.

SASHA COTTERELL can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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