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ASI hosts National Voter Registration Day to get students active and aware

Huge rally turnout to push for student voter registration

Photo+Courtsey+of+J.+Aaron+Delgado
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ASI hosts National Voter Registration Day to get students active and aware

Photo Courtsey of J. Aaron Delgado

Photo Courtsey of J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

Photo Courtsey of J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

Photo Courtsey of J. Aaron Delgado

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

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       According to the National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) organization, a shocking six million Americans did not vote in the 2008 presidential election because they either missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. As the voter registration deadline for the heated 2016 election comes rapidly upon us—October 24th—we must take action now or face later consequences.

Conveniently for Cal State LA students, Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) hosted a NVRD on campus on Tuesday, September 27, joining a community of other universities and organizations across the nation. During the event, students were given the opportunity to register for their first time or make changes to their registration information. First time registration primarily targeted the freshman class, whereas address updates or other vital alterations appealed to upperclassmen.

 Marcos Montes, VP of External Affairs and Political Science major, directed the event. Montes is a member of the California State Student Association (CSSA), a directive led by Chancellor Stephen White, in which he represents Cal State LA on a statewide level.  

Montes plans to pursue policy-making process. Ultimately, he seeks an elected office at the state level. It would appear that nothing could stand in the way of this bright and motivated individual, except for the fact that he is undocumented.

At the age of six, Montes’ parents brought him to America in hopes of a brighter future. Although he has certainly taken advantage of numerous opportunities in California, being undocumented makes it difficult for him to fully achieve his dream.

“We’re already in this country so we take it for granted, but you have people outside of this country hoping they would be here. And they’re willing to sacrifice their lives by crossing deserts and oceans just to be here,” said Montes.

Although Montes can’t vote in elections himself, he still supports NVRD because he understands the importance of exercising citizen rights.

In addition to working with NVRD, ASI also partnered up with other non-partisan organizations L.A. County Registrar’s Office and New Voter’s Project to hold the event. According to Montes, the goal of NVRD is not only to get students registered, but also to inspire them to vote in the upcoming election.

 Montes noted that NVRD not only served to support voter registration, but also stimulated civic engagement and political participation, which are lacking among college students.

According to Montes, registration is often too time consuming for students, who often have other priorities that can get in the way. He also believes that some students have lost faith in the representation they receive from government, or lack thereof. Similarly, many students might believe that they have no voting power because of indirect election. Montes begged to differ.

“Something that I personally believe is that your vote does matter. Your vote matters a lot more when you’re voting on something that’s closer to you. I think students need to realize that if you don’t vote, someone else will vote for you and decide for you.”

The NVRD certainly helped impart this message. Taking place across from the ASI farmer’s market, the event was held under the Olympic mural on the physical education building. The mural has a significance in and of itself, being only one of two artworks commissioned by the 1986 Los Angeles Olympic organizing committee. It was placed on the gym because of the Olympic judo contest that Cal State LA hosted that year.

“I think it’s an important and sometimes overlooked piece of artwork. Like you can just walk past it and don’t pay much attention to it. But, there’s a lot of history behind it,” said Montes.

All in all, NVRD could not have been livelier. Music guests like Buyepongo and Changüí Majadero performed, adding culture to the event. Golden Eagle Radio also spiced things up with a few remixes. Free tote bags with numerous NVRD, ASI and Cal State LA related designs were also dispersed.

A few notable individuals spoke at the event. Besides Montes, ASI President Kayla Stamps and President William Covino offered their endorsements at NVRD’s commencement.

Once again, ASI has inspired Cal State LA students to be active and involved in their communities. For those who haven’t registered, make sure to get on it as soon as possible. ¡Vota! ¡Vota! ¡Vota!

 

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