Irony: Rock the Vote

Voting Turns-Out Abysmal at Cal State LA


Colourful overlapping silhouettes of people voting in USA elections. Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Anthony Karambelas, Staff Reporter

California’s 2018 midterm election set a record for the highest turnout in recent memory, closing in on 65 percent. Sure, we have a long way to go before we reach the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s consistent 70 percent turnout, but we should feel proud of ourselves. There are places where turnouts barely cut four percent; take Cal State LA, for example.

Last Fall, 27,685 students were enrolled at Cal State LA according to the Administration. How many voted in the ASI Election? 1,175. No need to fumble with your calculators; that is 4.4 percent.

“Voter apathy or low voter turnout in student government elections has been a challenge across the CSU System,” said Marcus Rodriguez.

But why? ASI checks off all the boxes. According to FairVote, factors that influence poll turnouts include everything from election type (presidential elections are unsurprisingly more popular than mayoral elections) to voting laws (early voting has increased rates across the board).

This begs the question: what more can ASI do that it is not already doing? Not only is there only one election every year that offers all elected positions, but students can vote with just a few clicks on GET.

A head-scratching conundrum could have some pretty disastrous consequences if left unaddressed. Thinning turnouts are sending a message loud and clear to the campus student administration that the student body does not care how its run.

But ASI is not quite ready to jump to this conclusion.

“Still, we know that Cal State LA students have been increasingly engaged, not just with ASI, but by seeking student leadership involvement opportunities campus-wide,” said Rodriguez.

ASI has started up a partnership with the University-Student Union to collectively brand a Cal State LA that encourages students to “Rise Up & Represent!”. While the primary mission of the initiative is to attract voters, as of January ASI held its first workshop to encourage future student officials to make the leap into a campaign.

With elections just around the corner, now is the time to do your school a favor. Mark your calendars for March 26 and 27. The ballots are coming in hot!