On Monday, Feb. 10, Samuel Roberts, a fourth-year public policy major and student ambassador for the School of Public Policy, held a town hall in HUB 255 to discuss his proposal to add a voter registration icon to the R’Web student portal and the R’Space faculty portal. “I’m here today to lead a discussion about a proposed application I’ve been working tirelessly to get integrated on R’Web,” stated Roberts.
The purpose of this application is to get all eligible students and staff at UCR to register to vote online through their portal in less than two minutes. With the deadline to register for the primary election coming up on Feb. 18, the added icon would need to be uploaded immediately, stated Roberts.
The implementation of this voter icon will be split into two phases and Roberts stated that he has been working with UCR’s Banner Leadership committee to begin the process. Phase one of the project will install the icon in the self-service portion of R’Web and R’Space to allow students and staff to register to vote from the UC Office of the President’s online registration page. This webpage is in partnership with Rock the Vote and allows anyone to fill out the voter registration form in under two minutes. Roberts stated that though the deadline is approaching quickly, he believes it is necessary “to show UCR that we as students believe this application benefits us as citizens of Riverside.”
Roberts also presented a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and UC President Janet Napolitano in September 2016. This MOU states that both the state of California and the UC system are in a mutual agreement to increase civic engagement in colleges and universities. The MOU states, “By working together, both Parties can amplify the reach and strength of their efforts that will result in students having an even greater voice in the democratic process.” More specifically, in Section 7 of the MOU under “Technology,” it states, “We will pilot a plan with the Secretary of State’s office to implement software that pre populates online voter registration forms with as much campus-held student information aspractical.”
The goal of this proposed application is to create an online registration page within each UC student portal that would lead students to an auto-populated registration form that would make the process faster. Roberts stated that while it has taken a few years to develop this system, UCLA has taken the leap in creating this application. He also mentioned that he has been in communication with UCLA’s deputy director of student life who has agreed to share UCLA’s completed voter registration application with UCR. This would make the process much faster and easier for UCR Information Technology Solutions, stated Roberts.
Roberts stated that this application is essential for UCR because of its diversity. With UCR being the seventh most diverse school in the country, higher voter engagement is essential for the politically underrepresented communities that attend this school, stated Roberts. He also highlighted the power student voices share: “Our voice has been limited for too long and now it is time to show the nation that our voice does matter.”
Roberts ended by reminding the audience that Feb. 18 is the last day to register to vote with the California primaries being held on March 3. He also reminded students that if they live on campus, their polling station will be located at Glen Mor.