Last year, Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) registered 3,178 students to vote, helping Cal Poly beat every other California college in the Secretary of State’s Ballot Bowl competition.
This year, armed with a $50,000 grant from the family of the late computer science freshman Jordan Grant, ASI president Mark Borges said he is confident ASI matched last year’s registration by the Feb. 18 deadline.
However, ASI does not know just how many students they registered — the Secretary of State is not running the College Ballot Bowl this year, Borges said.
Records of voting registration will be released closer to the general election, according to Borges. He said while it is not an official competition as it was last year, he is very much invested in Cal Poly taking the lead once more.
The Grant family’s donation is intended to increase awareness of student voting registration. Grant had indicated to his parents that he had a desire to vote, but due to his passing he never got the opportunity, Borges said. He said this has been a main component of this year’s Flex Your Right campaign, ASI’s initiative to get more students registered to vote.
While registering for the 2020 Presidential Election is a large part of the grant, Borges said he encourages students to get involved in local government as well.
“Two election cycles ago, the city’s mayoral race was decided by 45-60 votes,” Borges said. “That right there I think goes to show the amount of impact student voices can have in local decision making.”
Issues that affect students such as parking, transportation or housing are decided during City Council meetings. Borges said Cal Poly students make up about one-third San Luis Obispo’s population and therefore have the opportunity to significantly affect City Council decisions.
“Students can really make such an impact on local decision making,” Borges said.“I hope that students fulfill their civic duty and register to vote.”