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Davis, California

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The 2020 election is about more than the presidency. Get out and vote!

UC Davis should postpone mandatory lectures, exams on Nov. 3 so students can focus on voting

Young people are told to vote every election, but this year it really is important to fill out our ballots, send them in and make our voices heard. The next president will be decided in November, but there are also local propositions, measures and other elected officials that will affect everyday life, where each individual vote has a greater impact on the outcome. 

The Editorial Board urges UC Davis to take this into consideration and make voting easier by preventing professors from holding mandatory synchronous lectures or scheduling exams on Election Day. 

Since Nov. 3 is the last day in California to mail or drop off ballots, this action will allow students to focus on delivering their ballots to election officials. And if they procrastinate—as college students notoriously do—it will give them extra time to research the candidates and propositions to make the most informed choices possible. 

In Yolo County, a seat for the U.S. House of Representatives is open, and Measure B could establish a new research facility and more affordable housing units in Davis. The propositions in California this year have the power to end the ban on affirmative action in public institutions, change Uber and Lyft gig drivers from independent contractors to employees and give voting rights to parolees and, in special cases, 17-year-olds. 

Register to vote here if you haven’t already done so—the deadline is Oct. 19 in California and varies by state. Voter registration status can be found here, and track where a California ballot is in the mail if it still hasn’t been delivered. You may need to reregister if you have moved or need to update your information. 

Compare all of the candidates at once by typing in your voting address at ballotready.org. This site gives a condensed explanation of the California propositions—but remember to read each measure carefully on the ballot. Some are written with double negatives, so a vote “No” could actually mean “Yes.” 

Completed ballots can be mailed to your county’s election official in California. For California voters, ballots will count as long as they’re postmarked by Nov. 3 and arrive within 15 days of the election. Sealed ballots can also be dropped off in any of these Davis locations by 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 3. 

There’s a lot of information about voting, and it can seem like a daunting amount of research—especially on top of schoolwork, jobs and clubs. Young people have the lowest turnout rates for any age group, and they reference schedule conflicts and a lack of free time on Election Day as reasons for not voting. 

Young adults historically have the lowest turn-out rates in elections, even though the results impact them for the longest amount of time. Not only should we vote, but we also have to tell our friends who “don’t care” about politics that our votes have real impacts on our counties, states and country. And as college students, we’re more likely than non-university students to vote, so we can’t forget to remind our non-university friends as well. 

Even if the fractured state of U.S. politics today is demoralizing, remember that this election isn’t just about two white males over the age of 70. No matter where you live, local elections will have lasting impacts on everyday life for years to come.

By voting in November, we’ll form good voting habits and set a precedent for future generations. This year, we can learn how to make informed, unbiased voting decisions—rather than relying on only one news source for all of our opinions. More importantly, we can prove that young people have the power to sway elections and change the political landscape.

A strong youth turnout in 2020 can inspire even more young people to vote in 2024, and then the ballot could reflect the diversity and ideals we believe in. But we can’t change our country if we don’t take action, and voting is a great way to do so. Register to vote, fill out your ballot and turn it in by the deadline.
Written by: The Editorial Board


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