University of the Pacific is working to inform and engage its students and the community for elections on November 8 by opening its Stockton Campus as a polling location, educating voters about ballot propositions and holding voter registration drives.
Voters assigned to Pacific as their polling site will vote inside the DeRosa University Center ballroom with reserved parking nearby. Polls are open on Election Day from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Polling locations can be found online 2-4 weeks before the election.
Ahead of the elections, faculty, staff and students are holding a series of events to prepare voters.
“Make the Vote Count” will take place Monday, Oct. 10 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 229 of the Wendell Phillips Center on the Stockton Campus, hosted by College of the Pacific and ASuop, the governing student body.
Political Science students will present a voter guide on the seven statewide ballot initiatives.
“The issues range from whether we are going to put a right to abortion into the California State Constitution, to whether people are going to be able to do sports betting in California,” said Keith Smith, associate professor of political science.
Faculty and students will also discuss the contests on the ballot, where to get information on candidates and how to make sure your ballot is counted. People who are not registered to vote can get help signing up.
ASuop will be holding a voter registration drive Oct. 14 from 12 to 1 p.m. on the DeRosa University Center walkway.
“I come from a refugee immigrant community, so this is a really important initiative for me,” said Brooke Han Tran, vice president of ASuop. “We are also planning to get a table at the Sunday farmer’s market on Pacific Avenue to get people in the community registered to vote.”
Voter registration forms are also available at the front desk of the DeRosa University Center.
“We want to encourage students to amplify their voices and take an interest in the issues affecting them and our society,” said Donte Miller, executive director of Campus Life. “Voting is one of the most effective ways our students can take initiative and practice civic engagement.”
Two additional events are planned later in the month. Pacific’s national champion-winning forensics team will hold a debate on the Stockton Campus for people to learn about both sides of the ballot propositions on Oct. 25 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
McGeorge School of Law will host the 2022 California Initiative Forum Oct. 26 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Students in the California Initiative Seminar course analyze all statewide ballot measures for each California election. They will present their findings and answer questions in the Lecture Hall at 3205 5th Ave. in Sacramento. It also will be livestreamed.
College students have traditionally voted at lower rates than the general population, but the numbers have risen in recent years. The national student voting rate was 66% in 2020, up from 52% during the prior presidential election, according to a report by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University. The national voting rate in 2020 for all voters was 67%.
“Voting is at the center of what it means to be a democracy,” Smith said. “In a state like California where a lot of the contests are not going to be competitive people wonder, ‘should I vote anyway?’ The answer is absolutely. When you vote, you are participating in this bigger process that’s greater than you. We are actively saying ‘this is how we are going to make our decisions.’
Oct. 10 – Vote-by-mail ballots will be sent to all registered voters in California on or before this date. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day.
Oct. 24 – Last day to register to vote. Eligible voters who miss the deadline can register in person on Election Day. Students should change their voter registration address by this date if they want to vote in San Joaquin County elections.
Nov. 8 – Election Day. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.