UC Santa Cruz is No. 2 in voter registration at 16 percent, falling right behind UC Santa Barbara at 36 percent, said Student Union Assembly (SUA) vote coordinator Barry Jakob.
Jakob wants to change that with a new SUA initiative: SlugVOTE.
“Ideally, I’d like to see the numbers go up to 40 or 50 percent of the student body,” Jakob said. “I want us to be number one in the UC system.”
SlugVOTE is a planned SUA voter registration initiative conducted by Jakob and several other students. The goals of SlugVOTE, Jakob said, include being a constant presence on campus.
“SlugVOTE is an organization that acts all year, every year” he said. “It’s not just an implied power that only acts a month in advance of election season.”
SlugVOTE isn’t like CalPIRG or other Quarry Plaza staples, Jakob said, but there will be a Quarry Plaza presence.
“We want to outreach in a way that’s different from the way voter registration has been done here before,” Jakob said. “We want people to come to us. We’ll have a table with a five-gallon water cooler, candy, things like that.”
Jakob and SUA communications director Shaz Umer said the central hope behind SlugVOTE is that it will outlast the presence of its current coordinators. Plans are underway for the initiative to be institutionalized within the infrastructure of SUA.
“It’s also being incorporated in the position of SUA external vice chancellor [currently held by Nelson Cortez]. SlugVote will be one of the responsibilities of the office of the EVC,” Umer said.
Most students are probably familiar with the packets received on move-in day, complete with a voter registration form. Jakob thinks that method is too passive, and intends to go door to door among the dorms, knocking and asking people to register to vote.
“Campus move-in day is going to look a lot different. You’ll see a voter registration presence there,” Jakob said. “We want it become a cultural, core feature of UCSC civic engagement. We want it to last for future generations.”
Umer and Jakob also hope the initiative can be interwoven with other campus events.
“We would like to make SlugVOTE services available to all student organizations on campus, and we would like to be able to table at those events,” Jakob said.