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On Final Day To Register, UC San Diego Leads In Voter Sign-Ups

Reported by Katie Schoolov

Campaign booths and student volunteers lined one of UC San Diego’s main walkways on Monday, drawing dozens of students to register to vote on the last possible day. Student organizers were hopeful the last-minute effort would allow the school to hold onto its lead.

“As of two weeks ago, we were ranked No. 1 among the UCs for student registration,” Liam Barrett said. “For the first time ever, UCSD has held that title, so we’re hoping we can carry that over through today and the end of the election.”

Barrett is the executive director of the nonpartisan Student Organized Voter Access Committee which was running Monday’s last-minute voter registration drive.

“A lot of times students want to register. They just haven’t necessarily had the access or the time to do it correctly, so we’re trying to catch them right as this deadline — registration window — sunsets,” Barrett said.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Liam Barrett, executive director or Student Organized Voter Access Committee, helps students register to vote at UC San Diego, Oct. 24, 2016.

SOVAC has been registering students to vote since September, going door-to-door and setting up booths on campus almost every day. By lunchtime Monday, they’d registered just over 2,100 students.

“We usually try to talk to people about the importance of voting for local issues when they register to vote because a lot of people, especially college students, aren’t necessarily satisfied with our two presidential candidates,” Barrett said.

UC San Diego junior Alvin Melkomian is one of those students. He registered on Monday.

“It’s important this year especially because it is a pretty hectic election coming up. We have two pretty crazy candidates,” Melkomian said. This is the first election he can vote in and he says he’s voting for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

UC San Diego freshman Poiema Kim registers to vote at UC San Diego, Oct. 24, 2016.

Clinton supporter Poiema Kim also stopped by to register Monday.

“This is probably going to be one of the most important elections in my opinion, and there’s a lot of people who are just voting without being informed,” Kim said. “I’m not saying I’m perfectly informed, but I’m more informed than a lot of people who are just going off their personal opinions or getting riled up by, like, Donald Trump. And I don’t think that not voting is any better than voting for Donald Trump.”

Kim, a freshman at UC San Diego, will also be voting in her first election.

In an effort to boost turnout, organizer Liam Barrett said they invited all local candidates to set up booths next to the registration table at UC San Diego. Barrett said nine of them confirmed they would be at the event and that several local candidates were planning to make appearances on campus in the afternoon. SOVAC’s goal was to register 4,000 students by the end of the day.

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