FeatureOpinions & Editorials

Voting is your voice

By Becca Hoekstra
The Guardsman
As you may have heard, there’s an election coming up in November.(If you have actually managed not to hear anything, can I please borrow your rocketship? Because you are obviously not on planet Earth.)Voting as a student can be really frustrating. We’re new to this complicated system of a representative democracy, and it’s easy to get disheartened and apathetic when combating a bureaucratic machine that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

But our student vote is absolutely critical. It is the only way we have of getting our voices and opinions involved in the governmental process. We have no one representing us in any political body: the average representative is 57 years old—decades out of touch with what we, as college students, may want.

18 to 24 year-olds make up nearly 13 percent of the voting population. Our sheer numbers give us the power to effect change. So let’s use it!

I have good news: in California, voting is super-duper easy. First, register to vote online at registertovote.ca.gov. The last day to register is October 22, and you need to re-register if you move, or change your name or your political party. Even students paying out-of-state tuition have a right to vote—residency can be established if you intend to stay in California for the time being. And once you fill out that extremely brief registration form, you’re already halfway there!

California’s voting ID requirements are incredibly relaxed. Any photo ID, including your student ID, is acceptable, as well as any utility bills, bank statements, or government mail – including the sample ballot that will get mailed to you just for registering to vote!

Since voting day always takes place on a Tuesday—this year, November 6, mark your calendars—it may be difficult for some students in school to exercise their democratic rights (although, really, I would hope many teachers excuse absences or tardiness for this reason). Early voting takes place the weekend before, and weekdays up to 45 days before. Locations and hours will be available in that sample ballot I mentioned earlier. Mail-in voting is always an option. And if you work on Tuesdays and are otherwise unable to vote, you’re granted two hours off with pay. But voting in person day-of is just so exciting! (No, really! It is!)

I highly recommend smartvoter.org, where you can insert your zip code to find the location of your polling place, as well as information on candidates and issues.

While our schools are continually getting slammed with budget cuts, there are some propositions on the ballot this year geared to boost state funding. Prop 30 will create higher tax brackets for those who make over $250,000 a year, and increase sales tax just a bit. This proposition is expected to generate around $6 billion in new revenue annually for seven years, 11 percent of which is slotted for community colleges—some of that is bound to trickle down to us at CCSF, right?

Proposition A is a bill created specifically to benefit City College. If approved, it will levy a parcel tax of $79 for each parcel of real estate for 8 years—funds that the State CAN NOT take away and which will have a major impact in offsetting budget cuts. This requires a two-thirds majority in order to pass—so get your butts out there and vote!

Lack of funds at City College has brought our school to its knees, in a precarious position of possibly losing accreditation and being shut down. For the sake of our education, and of education in the future of San Francisco, we need to rise up to demand that our school receives the monetary means necessary to continue the grand mission of providing an affordable education to everyone, from all walks of life—the ESL student, the returning adult, the veteran, the transfer student, et al.

Our future is being decided upon, with or without our participation. But if we get out there and vote, our combined voices have the possibility of keeping our school afloat for years to come. It’s just that easy.

Stay tuned: next week we’ll look at the presidential candidates’ views on the future of education!

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