Student organizations at UCR have been employing several strategies to register students to vote, with the U.S. midterms approaching on Nov. 6, and the voter registration deadline having been Oct. 22 for the state of California. One of the major contributors to this movement was CALPIRG, who registered more than 1,000 UCR students, according to Mya Ho, an activist with the group.
When Chapter Chair and New Voters Project (NVP) Coordinator Miguel Ramirez and NVP Coordinator Elisa Chang were asked about their specific strategies for registering students, Ramirez said “We’re out there, in the ground, getting people registered to vote at our tables, we’re going to the dorms and getting them registered there, we went to classes to do class announcements with the permission of some professors that really care about this.” He says that the group was even registering some students during their classes.
Chang added, “These are grassroots tactics. We’re all about directly engaging students face-to-face, in person. We’re reaching out to people one by one, asking them ‘Are you registered to vote? What problems have you had?’” Chang maintains that during the process of registering students, CALPIRG members are also educating students on the voting process. “A lot of students don’t know you would have to register before you actually vote, a lot of people don’t know the different processes behind registering, they do not know how quick and easy it is.” CALPIRG has also teamed up and formed a coalition with other student groups on campus to register students to vote, including ASUCR, Student Life, the Catholic Student Fellowship and ASPB, among others.
Now that the registration deadline has passed, however, this coalition is focusing on a “get out the vote” campaign. As Chang puts it, “There’s no point in being registered if you don’t actually turn out to the polls, right?” Some of these strategies include letting students know the location of where to cast their vote. The polling station on campus will be located at Glen Mor.
When asked how the College Republicans pushed students to register to vote, Alan Nguyen, the College Republicans president, stated, “We do voter registration at the beginning of every quarter leading up to an election season.” These strategies included making sure that every College Republicans member was registered to vote, as well as registering those who visited the College Republicans booth at every tabling event. In addition, Nguyen stated, “We’ve registered student voters at our Summer recruitment drive during orientation.” Nguyen said that the College Republicans also plan on hosting an event alongside the College Democrats to “talk to the general student body about positions on the various issues, namely the propositions on the ballot and candidates for government offices.” This event will be held at Glen Mor K106/108 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Highlander reached out to the College Democrats at UCR to inquire about strategies implemented to get students registered, however, their president, Noble Stephenson, responded saying that they were not doing voter registration.
If students have further questions about these groups, or about voter registration and voting, they can contact CALPRIG at firstname.lastname@example.org, College Democrats at UCR.Collegedemocrats@gmail.com and College Republicans at Collegerepublicansucr@gmail.com.