The UC Board of Regents and the California secretary of state partnered to sign a resolution Wednesday intended to increase student voter participation by ensuring all 10 UC campuses have ballot drop boxes or voting centers.
The resolution, signed by UC President Michael Drake, Board of Regents Chair Richard Leib and California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, aims to continue a trend of increasing voter participation on the UC campuses. According to a UC press release, eligible student voter participation increased from under 50% in the 2016 presidential election to 75% in the 2020 presidential election.
The university has previously started other initiatives to inform students about voting, such as the nonpartisan UC Votes campaign.
“The University of California is a proud supporter of the state’s efforts to promote civic engagement,” Leib said in a UC press release. “This resolution builds on our long history of public service, voter education and registration efforts.”
Bailey Henderson, ASUC external affairs vice president-elect, said the resolution was a step in the right direction, though he believes there is more that can be done. He added that it would be ideal to establish a student voter holiday or asynchronous day to increase access to participation in elections, which the ASUC and UC Student Association have advocated for in the past.
Henderson added that many efforts to increase voter participation come from students themselves. According to Henderson, the ASUC has put together voter education packets and planned to host concerts and voter drives to encourage voter registration.
“(Civic engagement will) help students realize the importance of voting and how it affects the community, rather than just seeing the disillusionment with national politics or state politics,” Henderson said. “Keeping students engaged and seeing the importance of voting is absolutely essential to the future of our democracy.”