ASUC Vote Coalition registers 8,000 students to vote

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Joe Wright/Staff

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Over the course of an almost six-month-long voter registration campaign, the ASUC Vote Coalition registered more than 8,000 students to vote, officials announced Wednesday — thousands fewer than their original goal.

As of Wednesday, the nonpartisan coalition housed in the ASUC Office of the External Affairs Vice President had registered 8,100 students, according to ASUC External Affairs Vice President Shahryar Abbasi. Although the coalition is still counting the last of the voter registration forms, the current count falls about 4,000 students short of its goal of registering 12,000 for the upcoming election.

The coalition, a combined effort of the Office of the External Affairs Vice President and campus chapters of CalPIRG, Voto Latino and Cal Berkeley Democrats, aimed to provide UC Berkeley students with an opportunity to register and actively take part in the political process.

In the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, the Vote Coalition registered about 10,000 students on campus, according to the coalition’s website. This year, the coalition registered fewer students even though Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, will decide the immediate financial future of the state’s public higher education institutions.

Should the initiative — which aims to temporarily increase the income tax rate on those earning more than $250,000 per year and the state sales tax by a quarter-percent — fail at the polls, the university will incur a series of budget cuts, including a $250 million midyear “trigger” cut in January. To make up for this lost funding, students could see a 20 percent tuition hike.
Since Sept. 19, California residents could also register to vote through an online system for the first time.

According to Abbasi’s chief of staff, Prabhdeep Kehal, the campaign ran from May to Oct. 22 — the last day to register to vote in California — and cost about $750. The money was allocated to the effort in May, he said.

“Most collaboration happened in terms of human power rather than financial power,” Kehal said.

The coalition’s efforts were among voter registration campaigns spearheaded by student government associations at various other UC campuses. Together, these campaigns were part of the UC Student Association’s goal to register 38,000 students systemwide.

According to the association’s organizing and communications director, Darius Kemp, representatives from the association have not finished tallying how many students registered systemwide.

Contact Ailya Naqvi at [email protected].