New Voters Project

Jacklyn Arding / Roundup

Opinions are like belly buttons; everybody’s got one.

For U.S. citizens 18 and older, the government not only allows, but encourages expressing those opinions through voting.

“The need for an active student voice has never been greater,” said Abraham White, Pierce College Associated Students Organization (ASO) President, “and [that] cannot be accomplished without more students getting out to the polls and voting.”

The last day to register is Oct. 23 for voting in the Nov. 7 election and White’s response to past low student voter turnout was to bring the New Voters Project to Pierce.

This voting season ASO teamed up with the California chapter of the State Public Interest Research Groups (CalPIRG) by setting up a table along the mall and visiting classrooms bolster and facilitate voter registration at Pierce.

Volunteers will be present to inform and help students with any issues they’ll be voting on.

“Do you see political ads discussing student debt? Or the cost of textbooks? Or the fact that 18-24 year-olds are the least insured age group in the nation?” asked Sam Voorhes, of CalPIRG.

The answer to his questions: no.

“We have been the lowest at the polls [so] politicians go to retirement homes, [but] they should be going to college campuses,” said Voorhes. Since the 26th amendment lowered the national voting age to 18 in 1971, the percentage of youths voting has steadily declined.

According to CalPIRG the number of people ages 18-24 who voted was about 20 percent in the last several national elections, while the percentages of those who voted in local elections were even lower. The mission of the New Voters Project is to show politicians college students are paying attention and they need to talk about the issues that concern them.

Steve “Dr. Mac” McHargue, of the History department, agrees with their mission. Registering to vote is “the least painful thing you’ve ever done,” said McHargue, “you almost have to make an effort not to vote.”

The CalPIRG in-class presentation includes a brief introduction to the history and importance of voting, time for students to fill out voter registration cards and raise any questions or concerns to their volunteer. Generally History and Political Science classes are targeted, but ASO and CalPIRG are eager to spread their message wherever staff and time permits.

Aside from boosting student interest, ASO is working to get candidates running for office to come to campus and speak at forums where students will have the opportunity to listen and ask questions. Additionally, ASO is considering hosting screenings of debates between the running gubernatorial candidates, where students can discuss what they would like the Governor and State to do for Community Colleges.

For those who have not yet received a voter guide and absentee ballot in the mail, that indicates a nonregister. To reregister or to become bigo live apk a registered voter ASO and CalPIRG will be signing people up along the mall and visiting classes through Oct. 23 or contact the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk at www.lavote.net or call (562) 466-1323. All registration applications must be in or postmarked by Oct. 23 to participate in the Nov. 7 election.

 

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