UCR to Host Early Voting on May 16 & 23

Students, staff and faculty who are Riverside residents may cast ballots; late registration available for all California residents

Scotty the Bear in Vote 2012 ad

Early voting will be held at UCR on May 16 and 23.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — University of California, Riverside students, staff and faculty, as well as members of the Riverside community, will have the opportunity to celebrate democracy a bit early this year as the campus hosts two rounds of early voting and voter registration on Wednesday, May 16 and Wednesday, May 23 in advance of the June 5th Presidential Primary Election.

Sponsored by the UCR Student Special Services (SSS), Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR) and the Riverside County Registrar of Voters, early voting sessions will be held in the Tartan and Tweed Room at Student Special Services in Costo Hall between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both the 16th and 23rd.

“Early voting is open to anyone who is registered to vote in the County of Riverside, but we will accept voter registrations from anyone, regardless of where they live,” SSS director Lenita Kellstrand said. “It’s about creating access for staff, faculty, students and even community members.”

Kellstrand said that the registrar will also be accepting voter registrations on May 16, and that Riverside residents who register that day will be able to return and vote on the May 23, or during the regular election on June 5. She added that if the program sees a good turnout, there is the possibility that the registrar will allow UCR to host early voting again for the November 6th presidential election.

While early voting and registration is open to any eligible voter, SSS and the Office of Student Affairs Communications have teamed up on an informational campaign geared towards students to educate them both on the issues, and about their duties and rights as citizens.

“There are some places in the country that are moving to disenfranchise students,” said Laurie Hall, SSS administrative manager, adding that California does not restrict where college students may register to vote. “This generation has a lot of power and their vote is important – it’s an opportunity to help shape the ballot for the November election. And this year is the first time we have seen the students really pushing the idea of voting.”

As part of the campaign, a website has been created containing links to non-partisan voter information. The site, http://vote.ucr.edu, contains links to the absentee voter guide, lists of polling places and other information.

“We want students to be informed and participate, but they should know that they don’t necessarily need to vote for every item on the ballot, or for every office,” Kellstrand said. “There are lots of places to go for good non-partisan information, but if they don’t feel informed on a certain issue, they can choose not to vote on it.”

Alfonso Ruiz-Delgado, a junior history and ethnic studies major and the director of voter registration and education for ASUCR, said that students shouldn’t complain if they don’t participate in the political system.

“One of the reasons that college students don’t have a powerful voice in the state capitol is that we come out in low numbers in every election,” he said. “College students make up a large demographic and our voices should be heard as to what direction we want this country to be going. We have the ability to make a change.”

Kellstrand said that students, especially would-be first time voters, are sometimes confused by the registration and voting process.

“In this day and age of doing everything instantly, students don’t realize that they can’t just walk up and register, then vote,” she said

“We’d like for students to be thinking ahead. If they aren’t registered in Riverside County, we hope they will take action, get their sample ballot and request an absentee ballot” agreed Hall. “We want them to turn out in huge numbers and for their voices to be heard in both the primary and presidential elections.”

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Student Special Services
Tel: (951) 827-3861
E-mail: specserv@ucr.edu

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