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SJP and UC Divest Coalition Demonstrations at UCLAUCLA chancellor appointment

Westwood residents go to the polls at UCLA Vote Centers

(Isabella Lee/Illustrations director)

By Catherine Hamilton

Nov. 6, 2022 11:32 p.m.

UCLA Vote Centers allow Bruins and Los Angeles community members easy access to voting for the 2022 midterm elections.

The two on-campus centers at Ackerman Union and De Neve Plaza opened for registered LA County voters Saturday. They will remain open until the end of election day on Tuesday, according to BruinsVote, a nonpartisan campus organization that aims to promote voter participation and offer resources to voting students. Voters have also been able to cast or drop off ballots at the third UCLA Vote Center, at the Hammer Museum, since Oct. 29.

[Related: Hammer Museum opens for 1st day of LA County early in-person voting]

More than 20 million votes – 14 million mail-in ballots and 6 million early voting ballots – have already been cast across the United States, according to the U.S. Elections Project. This year’s election turnout has already reached a historic high compared to other midterm years, though midterm cycles typically have lower turnout than presidential elections, according to data from Morning Consult.

Kevin Johnson, an employee at Lulu, the Hammer Museum’s restaurant, said the voting center at the museum was run more professionally than any he had been to previously. They were helpful in getting him a new envelope – as his first had a signature error – to make sure his vote is counted, he added.

Lynnette Dodd, who also voted at the Hammer Museum, said she appreciates having a convenient voting center to go to in person, as she lives two blocks from the museum.

“I like to come and vote in person, I really do. I mean, I just like to press that button and … know that my vote counts,” Dodd said. “It’s a beautiful setting here.”

It was helpful not having to go off campus to figure out the process and vote, said Jaylin Higgins, a second-year biology student who cast her ballot at the De Neve Plaza center. There are other vote centers around LA County, but costs and time can deter people from going farther distances to vote, she said.

However, while the information for filling out a ballot can be found online, Higgins added that it would be nice for UCLA to send students more informational emails about voting.

Other LA community members who are not eligible to vote voiced a desire to vote and also acknowledged the proximity of the voting centers to university students.

Moe Shakeri, an Iranian immigrant who lives near Westwood and is not able to become an American citizen for another four years, said that even though he does not fully understand the voting system, he looks forward to the next midterm elections in 2026, which he will be able to vote in. It is nice to have the voting center in walking distance from campus, he also said.

Voters said that overall they appreciated having the centers, especially so close to a college campus.

“It’s great, because that’s why I put the (I voted) sticker on, because I’m hoping all the kids that I work with will vote,” Johnson said. “It’s great that it’s right here. There’s no excuse, and hopefully this will be a beacon for that.”

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Catherine Hamilton
Hamilton was the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor.
Hamilton was the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor.
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