Nicole Freeling, UC Newsroom
Right now, students may be thinking more about their midterms in comparative lit or organic chemistry than the one on Nov. 8, which, among other things, will determine control of Congress.
But the upcoming U.S. election involves issues – from the local to the national level – that will impact students’ everyday lives, to say nothing of the future they’ll inherit.
“The student voice needs to be heard,” said Grace Talty, a freshman in Global Studies at UC Berkeley. “We’re the generation that is going to have to live with the laws that are made, so we better make sure we have a say in it.”
Along with national races, the midterm election includes loads of local races and measures to determine things like local taxes, investments in housing and city services, local parking, noise ordinances and more.
Are you prepared for the upcoming election? Visit University of California: Vote! to learn more.
Local races are often decided by a handful of votes, so casting your ballot can be decisive, Talty says. And as students and young voters vote in greater numbers, elected officials will be more responsive to their views.
“It’s exciting to see young people taking the future of their county and community into their hands,” said UC Berkeley third year political science major Skylar Betts.
Young people’s passion and commitment is inspiring many older voters, she said. “Students are telling their families, ‘You need to vote. This is for my future, and if you care about me, you need to care about that.’”
Luckily, there are more options than ever for casting your vote.
Here are all the ways to participate:
- Vote from home
Every registered Californian receives a mail-in ballot that they can complete and return as soon as they receive it. The deadline is June 7 . Just drop it in the mail (no postage required), put it in an official ballot drop box, or bring it to any polling place on Nov. 8.
Find a ballot drop box near you.
- Vote early
Many California counties — including several where UC campuses are located —allow in-person voting at specific locations, starting as early as October 29, including Saturdays and Sundays.
Find early voting locations where you’re registered.
- Go to the polls on Election Day
For those who prefer the time-honored tradition of standing in a voting booth to fill out their ballot, the polls will be open on Tuesday, Nov. 8 – Election Day – from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Cast your ballot on the way to class
Thanks to a new agreement between UC and the California Secretary of State’s office, there are polling places and drop boxes on every UC campus. You can now do your civic duty on your walk between the library, lab or the dining hall.
- Registered outside of California? Cast your vote by mail.
Not everyone has made it as easy as the Golden State to cast a ballot. But don’t let that deter you, said Talty. “If they are making it difficult for young voters, that’s just a sign that our vote matters.”
Get information on how to vote in your state – then put your ballot in the mailbox (with postage) asap. Most states will count ballots postmarked up to and including Election Day.
- Forgot to register? You can still vote in California!
California allows you to simply show up at a designated polling site on Election Day and fill out a same-day voter registration form. You’ll be able to cast a provisional ballot. It will count the same as any other once officials have confirmed your eligibility to vote.
Learn about same-day registration.
- Not eligible to vote? Here are other ways to take part.
Even if you aren’t eligible to vote, you can still take an active part in the democratic process by helping your classmates and your community turn out. Contact your local student government organization or office of student life to learn about voter outreach efforts on your campus.
You can also consider being a poll worker. Officials often struggle to find volunteers – and it pays!
Become a poll worker.
Visit University of California Votes to get information on registration, voting and what’s on the ballot.