In an effort to bring political activism back to universites, Cal Poly will host a last chance voter drive for students to register before the Oct. 20 deadline. Democracy Week, held today through Thursday, will have a voter registration drive and feature state and local political figures both on and off campus.
Democracy Week evolved from a voter registration drive held on campus last year. The goal was for each California State University campus to register 1,000 people and Cal Poly registered the most people out of any CSU campus. Organizers said this is the last bige push to register for the upcoming election.
“Universities are typically known to create groundswells of political activism and support,” said ASI president Angela Kramer. “I’d definitely say we’ve lost that and hopefully this year we can turn that around.”
All week long, ASI student government representatives will have a table in the University Union Plaza where students can register to vote. Forms are available in the student government office and a booth will also be set up at Farmers’ Market on Oct. 16. The residence halls on campus will compete all week to see which one can register the most people.
“Our goal is to get as many people registered and involved as possible,” ASI Chief of Staff Sean Grant said. “This is a historical election regardless of your political orientation.”
Political candidates from city, county and state levels will be speaking on campus as well.
“A lot of students feel they don’t have a voice and politicians don’t care (about them),” Grant said. “We want to bring in politicians to show they do care and inspire (students) to voice their opinions.”
Two important women politicans are coming, which Kramer said she is particularly excited about, since many still define politics as a man’s game.
“It’s really nice to see some powerful women coming through these doors,” Kramer said.
Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps, who is up for re-election this year, will be speaking to students on Oct. 13 in the Science building, room A12 at 7 p.m. She will be speaking about her campaign for Congress as well as other issues.
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen will address students on Oct. 15 in University Union room 220 at noon. Her role in the state is to manage the voting system, making sure everything is legal and correct, Kramer said. Bowen will also talk about the importance of voting in a democratic system, the event Kramer’s most looking forward to.
The first “Soup and Substance” event of this year, which is put on by Student Life and Leadership and ASI, will be a mayoral and San Luis Obispo City Council debate. The debate, mediated by Kramer, will be on Oct. 14 in UU 220 at 11 a.m. and there is free soup for all. Kramer has questions prepared that she thinks pertain to the campus community, but welcomes student input. Students can submit their own questions to her by e-mail (email@example.com).
ASI is attempting to make it easy to register to vote at any of these events. All students need to do is fill out the registration form and return it to the student government representatives who will give the students a receipt showing they turned in their form. ASI then has three days to turn the forms into the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office Grant said.
“There are a lot of (students) and we have many specific issues that should be heard at all levels of government,” Kramer said. “It’s up to us to make our voices heard.”
In addition to promoting the election, Kramer said ASI Student Government is also trying to promote itself.
“As representatives of our constituents around campus, we really want people to know who we are and feel comfortable coming to us,” Kramer said. “We just want to put ourselves out there and show that we’re real people who care about a real cause.”