As voter apathy escalates across most college campuses, the Flex Your Right voter registration campaign hosted by Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) is actively combatting this at Cal Poly.
Organized by ASI Chief of Staff and philosophy senior Anthony Haddad, Flex Your Right centers around TurboVote, an online platform that allows students to register to vote in less than five minutes.
“Using that service, we can actually go to classrooms, to clubs and have students register, even on their phones,” Haddad said.
A crucial aspect of this campaign is encouraging students to vote not only on the federal level, but also in the San Luis Obispo city elections.
“Our main focus is really registering people in SLO because this is our home away from home, this is where we spend four years of our lives,” Haddad said.
The impetus for Flex Your Right stemmed from the passage of stricter city ordinances two summers ago. Ultimately, student voices regarding the measures went unheard, sparking the need for this movement.
Power in numbers
Should they choose to exercise their political power, Cal Poly students would hold significant influence over local elections.
Considering that 18 to 24-year-olds make up more than one third of the population in San Luis Obispo, students have a heavy hand on the vote.
“A lot of people say ‘you don’t have a say, [the] majority is going to win’, but if everybody votes, you never know what can happen,” nutrition sophomore Kim Tuckness said.
Breaking the “college student” stereotype
Student voting can do more than just get their say on a certain ordinance or candidate— it changes perceptions.
“Show the community that we’re here, we’re part of the community, we care about the SLO community, we’re invested in it, instead of [residents] seeing college kids as always throwing parties, as a nuisance,” history sophomore Kristina Carroll said.
Carroll added that the Flex Your Right campaign ultimately encourages students, especially freshmen, to become more invested in “[learning] the hard work and the effort it takes to be a participating citizen.”
ASI predicts to have more than 2,000 new student voters registering by the end of the campaign on Oct. 24.
Following the end of Flex Your Right, student government will commence an informational campaign focusing on the logistics of the November ballot, including upcoming propositions many students do not know about.
“One of my professors says ‘the study of history is the study of propaganda’,” Carroll said. “So if you can sort through it, you’re on your way to becoming a critical thinker and engaging with the issues.”
To register to vote, visit www.calpoly.turbovote.org.