"I Voted!"

BY: VIVIAN GATICA

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This year, more than ever, students are being urged to vote. Associated Students, Inc. Lobby Corps assigned secretary for system-wide affairs James Suazo, and secretary for city affairs Allison Gallagher to come up with a creative way to get students on campus to register and actually show up on Election Day to vote. They, with the help of the California State Student Association, created the 49ers Vote campaign to register, educate and motivate students to vote. “We wanted to do something bigger than we had ever done before,” Deshe Gully, ASI Lobby Corps chair said.

Election Day 2012 results will have a direct impact on students, there may be a new president and the fate of Proposition 30 will be decided. Students may face an increase in tuition if they do not use their political voices and vote. The 49ers Vote campaign has been implemented to help students realize how significant their vote actually is.

“We really want students to be aware of how many crucial pieces of legislation are on the line,” Gallagher said.

Many of the techniques and events that are a part of the 49ers Vote campaign are based on other campus campaigns. Every CSU campus is performing some sort of voter registration campaign. What makes this one different is that 49ers Vote has joined forces with many other organizations on campus with hopes to promote voter registration to create one central force.

“We're trying to incorporate everybody so we all have a seat at the table and we can all contribute towards our goal,” Suazo said.

The California State Student Association supports the campaign and has provided it with essential resources. The organization represents this campus at a federal level and links it to the state government. The Student Association focuses primarily on issues that affect students, and want students to be aware of what is going on in the political system. Special events for CSULB have been planned to spread political awareness. Gallagher and Suazoorganized “Hot Dog Let’s Vote” where the Weinershnitzel food truck was on campus giving free hot dogs to students who registered to vote. They also organized “Get the Scoop,” where students were given free ice cream and educated them about political issues. “We're really focusing on educating students in a way they can understand, and are interested in learning on what's on the ballot so that, in turn, they are motivated,” Suazo said. The campaign fully supports Proposition 30. If it passes, students will receive a tuition rebate, more courses and services will be offered, and the CSU system will receive more funding from the government. If it does not pass, however, tuition will increase, more fees will be implemented and fewer classes will be offered.

“This is something we need to support because it's an investment,” Suazo said. “We may not get the return we want to see, but it is an investment for the future.”

The 49ers Vote has a lot planned on Election Day. There will be a polling place in the University Student Union for students to vote on campus as well. Gallagher and Suazo are also hoping to pass out coffee to students sporting “I Voted” stickers.

The goal of the campaign is to get students to have their voice heard on Election Day.

Gallagher said, “I think it's important for students to stress that we are important, that we do have a voice, and that we do take politics seriously.”