California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis re-launched the California Students Vote Project during a presentation to the University of California Student Association today. CSVP is a first of its kind national campaign to increase civic engagement and voter participation among California university and college students. Every major institution of higher education in California — including the California Community College, California State University, University of California, and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities systems — have partnered with the Secretary of State’s office, Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis and a coalition of nonprofit organizations on CSVP.
“As a result of the challenging and chaotic times we are living in, the 2020 General Election will be a critical one,” Padilla said. “Students will have a chance to make their voices heard on key issues, policies, and elected officials, including the presidential race. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of student voter outreach must be completed online, and the California Student Vote Project is committed to reach students in new and engaging ways. California’s youth are already actively involved in improving their campuses and communities. Our goal is to empower them to translate their energy and activism at the ballot box. I want the student voice heard when decisions are made on Election Day.”
“I am proud to partner with secretary Padilla on the California Student Vote Project and build on the work of then-Lieutenant Governor Newsom,” said Kounalakis. “COVID-19 has caused an enormous shift in how we approach voter outreach, and young people have a critical role to play in making sure they and their peers are engaged in this unique and historic election. I look forward to working with the secretary to ensure students’ voices are heard this November.”
“CSSA is so appreciative to the secretary of state and lieutenant governor for their continued support of ensuring college students are engaged in the general election,” said CSSA President and CSU Northridge graduate student, Zahraa Khuraibet. “We are living in a time where being civically engaged, now more than ever, is not only important but essential. Students have the power to shape and create a better future. CSSA is also mindful that the voices of our students that do not have the right to vote need to be heard and acknowledged. We are ready to empower, inform, and mobilize our CSU community and ensure all voices are heard in this historic election.”
“UC students are grateful to have such strong allies in lieutenant governor Kounalakis and secretary of state Padilla,” said UCSA Government Relations Chair, Aidan Arasasingham. “In the midst of a pandemic, this may prove to be the most consequential election of our lives. With partners in the state, university and community, we students are mobilizing to register and turn out historic numbers of voters to have our generation’s voices heard in this unprecedented moment.”
“Young people are the largest block of potential voters in this country, so we have the ability to shape our futures in this election if we vote,” said Nicolas Riani, a public affairs major at UCLA and the CALPIRG Students State Board Chair. “CALPIRG Students is excited to partner with the California Students Vote Project and work to register and turn out thousands of students to vote in this election.”
“California has deep voter participation disparities on the basis of age, with young voters way behind older voters,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, Executive Director at California Common Cause. “We will never have a truly representative and inclusive democracy in our state until we have fixed that problem and helped young voters seize their voice.”
CSVP will focus on developing and deploying comprehensive digital outreach strategies, including an online portal with sample social media graphics, messaging, and virtual workshops on how to host a digital voter registration drive.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic every active, registered voter in California will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot ahead of Nov, 3 General Election. With the shift to online instruction, many students’ living arrangements and addresses have changed. It is crucial for students to update their addresses to receive their vote-by-mail ballot. Students, and all Californians, can check their voter registration information at VoterStatus.sos.ca.gov and make any updates at RegisterToVote.ca.gov.