There are less than 200 registered voters at Humboldt State University, but on-campus organizations are trying to increase that number before the midterm elections on Nov. 6.
Elections manager of Humboldt County Judith Hedgpeth said that it is important that students are informed on voting protocol — where to register, polling locations and which policies affect Humboldt County directly.
According to Hedgpeth, the lack of registered voters was incredibly frustrating during the 2016 presidential elections due to people not knowing they could register within a matter of seconds online at the time.
“A huge number of students who wanted to vote, but were not registered to vote in Humboldt County, did not vote,” Hedgpeth said. “And that caused a lot of frustration, but it is important to know that things changed.”
Kelly E. Sanders, a clerk and recorder for the Registrar of Voters, said that many unregistered students are not from Humboldt County or they are registered elsewhere in the precinct areas of Humboldt County such as Mckinleyville. In these cases, McKinleyville or their correct precinct would be their polling station instead of Arcata.
Who can help you register
Humboldt State University’s Library is making an effort to increase the number of registered student voters.
“They can either register here, locally the deadline to register to vote in the local election is Oct. 22,” Garrett Purchio, the teaching and learning librarian, said. “If they want to vote wherever they’re from they can request a ballot by mail option, or if they live here and don’t want to go to the polls they can do the vote by mail option.”
They set up a booth on the first floor that has voter registration forms and instructions on how to register online by visiting the secretary of state’s website.
It is also important to keep in mind that elections do not just happen every four years, they happen annually at a county and state level. This year’s elections take place on Nov. 6.
“Students think elections happen every four years,” Purchio said. “No, there’s elections every year and honestly what happens local and state affects you more directly.”
Out-of-state students should note that scholarships can be at risk once they register to vote in California.
Who can help you understand policies
Pueblo Unido y Políticas, a voter forum created by Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán and the Latin Center for Academic Excellence, helps students familiarize themselves with the policies of the measures.
Regional M.E.Ch.A co-chair Nathaniel McGuigan said that Pueblo Unido y Politicas is a grassroot movement that gives voice to the working class and those who are most affected by policies.
“Grassroot movements are basically social movements that are led by people on the ground,” McGuigan said. “An everyday person who walks on the streets or has an average blue collar job. Basically anyone who represents the working class or a marginalized community.”
McGuigan urges students to inform themselves on ballot measures and policies that affect students such as Measure M, Measure K and Proposition 10. Measure M will decide whether to keep the McKinley statue (for registered voters in Arcata), Measure K decides whether Humboldt will become a sanctuary county and Prop 10 decides whether to repeal Costa Hawkin’s, a rent-control law.
HSU senior Joe Pasillas believes that voting is important because change starts within and with someone who is willing to participate.