Saturday, September 14

BruinsVote! en route to student voter registration goal

BruinsVote! announced it has registered about 6,500 students to vote, with about 2,500 coming since Sept. 15. The group aims to register 15,000 students.(Mackenzie Possee/Assistant Photo Editor)

BruinsVote! announced it has registered about 6,500 students to vote, with about 2,500 coming since Sept. 15. The group aims to register 15,000 students.(Mackenzie Possee/Assistant Photo Editor)

Student groups working to register students to vote are almost halfway to their goal of registering 15,000 students.

BruinsVote! leaders announced Tuesday that the coalition registered 6,553 students before Tuesday. They have until the Oct. 24 registration deadline to register students.

BruinsVote! is a coalition of seven student groups, including the undergraduate student government external vice president office, Vote for Our Future and California Public Interest Research Group.

The updated number of registered voters includes about 4,200 students who registered for the June primary election in spring quarter, said Yara Hejazi, executive director of Vote for Our Future and fourth-year political science student.

Hejazi also said volunteers registered more than 1,800 people at Volunteer Day and during move-in weekend.

Hejazi added he thinks future BruinsVote! efforts, including registering students in residential halls and posting online banners on MyUCLA, will allow the coalition to reach more people than it already has.

“Hundreds of BruinsVote! volunteers will go into the residential halls to register people to vote,” Hejazi said. “The Office of Residential Life has extended the hours and days we are allowed to operate on the Hill.”

[Related: Campus clubs work together to promote student voter registration]

Volunteers will knock on doors from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday of weeks three and four, Hejazi said. Last spring, Vote for Our Future negotiated with the Office of Residential Life to allow student volunteers to knock on doors for two hours a day for one week.

USAC External Vice President Rafi Sands said he has discussed partnering with UCLA Athletics to register voters at the last home football game before the deadline. He added volunteers will target students waiting in lines at dining halls, shuttles to football games, the textbook store and free movies hosted by the Campus Events Commission.

Sands also said having volunteers on Bruin Walk and at events like athletic games or Turnout Tuesday are not meant to register many students, but rather to continually remind students of the deadline.

[Related: Bruins discuss methods, plan events to increase student voter turnout]

“More students will register as the deadline approaches,” Sands said. “People usually wait until the last minute to do things, so we just want to remind students every day.”

Sands also said in the week before the deadline, BruinsVote! will make another big push to register students to vote with reminder cards.

Keeping track of thousands of voter registration forms is challenging, but BruinsVote! centralizes the process to make it easier, Sands added.

At the end of every day, BruinsVote! volunteers deliver all registration forms to the EVP’s office, where designated workers scan forms before sending them to the Los Angeles County registrar, Sands said.

“Scanning helps keep track of the number of forms,” Sands said. “Some groups, like CALPIRG, need proof to show they’re registering people, and the University of California Student Association also gets copies for the UC-wide competition.”

UCSA has held a voter registration competition for recent elections to see which UC campus can register the most students. Sands said he has not heard how many students other campuses have registered, and wants to focus on registering UCLA students.

Hejazi added BruinsVote! can easily count the people who register using the BruinsVote! website. More than half of the students who registered for the June primary filled out online forms, Hejazi added.

Sands added that though he expects some student groups, like Bruin Democrats and Bruin Republicans, to start partisan campaigning after the deadline to register passes, his office and other groups will focus on nonpartisan education efforts.

“We’ll move towards our education phase, where we plan to distribute UCSA voter guides,” Sands said.

Hejazi added Vote for Our Future will focus on educating students about the importance of voting, staying engaged and spreading information about upcoming elections like the 2017 Los Angeles municipal elections.

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