Cal State San Bernardino was recognized as a “campus with the most creative approach to registering students to vote” in the 2020 Ballot Bowl competition developed by the California Students Vote Project.
The California Students Vote Project (CSVP) is a project of the California Secretary of State in partnership with then California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and a coalition of nonprofit organizations in 2016. The CSVP aims to increase civic engagement and voter participation among California university and college students.
“This year’s civic engagement platform is aimed at recognizing our decisions in this year’s election and the impact they will have for generations to come,” says the campaign’s website.
To select the winners of campuses with the most creative approach to registering students, the Secretary of State’s office reviewed voter outreach plans submitted to its office.
During the 2020 election season, CSUSB’s Associated Students Inc. created the “Your Vote, Our Future” voter engagement campaign, which highlighted the importance of our decisions in this year’s general election and the impact they will have on future generations.
ASI created a one-of-a-kind online platform aimed at increasing voter registration for the Ballot Bowl, providing information to the campus community about the election process and ballot, informing them of upcoming civic engagement events, and sharing resources on the current government system. ASI also promoted its unique link to register students to vote, which was provided by the California Secretary of State to track the number of students from campus.
In addition, CSUSB hosted the webinar “Mi Voto, Mi Voz, Mi Vida (My Vote, My Voice, My Life) in mid-October, which featured California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who urged CSUSB students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to vote in the November election. The virtual youth-centered webinar featured educational speakers and videos addressing topics that included: Why our voices matter; Registration, How/Where/When to cast your ballot; The different types of elections; and when they occur.
Other CSUSB voting-related events included the annual 50/50 Movement event with the theme “Commemorating 100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote,” where Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) served as the keynote speaker; and the CSUSB First-Generation College Celebration, which included a voting campaign targeted toward first-generation students in order to bring visibility to the power of first-generation voters. More than 80 percent of CSUSB students are first-generation.
Also, during the election season, CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales released a series of special video messages urging students to register to vote.
This isn’t CSUSB’s first honor for student voting. In September, Washington Monthly magazine named CSUSB as one of the Best Colleges for Student Voting in the nation in its 2020 Annual College Guide and Ranking. A total of 157 colleges and universities made the list, including CSUSB.
Throughout the 2020 Ballot Bowl, 82,634 Californian college students registered to vote, an enormous increase compared to the approximately 21,000 Californian college students who registered to vote using the Secretary of State’s online voter registration system the entire year of 2016.
Ninety-five campuses registered in the competition, including all 23 CSU campuses, all 10 UC campuses, 51 CCC, and 11 AICCU campuses. In comparison, during the Inaugural Ballot Bowl competition in 2018, 46 campuses worked together to register nearly 11,000 students to vote.
Joining CSUSB in the ‘most creative’ category are UC Berkeley, Santa Ana College and Mount Saint Mary’s University.
To learn more about the California Students Vote Project, visit the CSVP website.