Bill lobbies for on-campus polling places

If you’re a UC or CSU student, you might be surprised to know that come election time, your school does not have a guaranteed on-campus polling place.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill last week to change that. The bill aims to increase student-voter turnout by increasing access and requiring city and county officials to provide at least one polling site at every California State University and University of California campus.

The bill doesn’t specifically require polls at community colleges, but says that “if convenient for voters,” they will be established.

Last November, most UC and CSU’s had polls on campus, however  universities in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Jose and Stanislaus did not.

While San Francisco State had their own polling site in November, they had to lobby hard for it. SF State senior Raymond Parenti-Kurttila told the Chronicle that he and other students faced “a lot of resistance from the department” of elections.

This new bill could help students like Parenti-Kurttila by homogenizing the on-campus polling culture.

And while online voting is on the rise, with California registration going digital for the first time in October (legislation also authored by Yee), providing students a convenient, physical place to vote is crucial to getting the youth vote out.

Yee’s spokesman, Adam Keigwin, told The Daily Californian:

“The goal of this bill is to get young people involved in democracy. Anytime you make polling easier for students or young people, they show up.”

If passed by the elections committee in March, the bill will go to the Senate floor for debate in June.