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  • Sac State's Vote Center again a key election focus


    Samantha Elizalde, right, helps a Sac State student interested in registering to vote, part of the University's overall effort to support the country's democratic process. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

    By Dixie Reid

    More than 200 Sac State students are newly registered to vote in the upcoming presidential primary.

    They join hundreds of other Hornets, as well as members of the public at large, expected to cast ballots on campus in the Sacramento County Vote Center inside Modoc Hall.

    Vote Center hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29-Monday, March 2, and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, March 3.

    Associated Students Inc. (ASI) adopted the slogan “Buzz the Ballot” to encourage students to participate in this and future elections.

    “With ‘Buzz the Ballot,’ we wanted to reflect Hornets going to the polls,” said Samantha Elizalde, a political science major and ASI’s director for the College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies.

    “It’s important that students register and vote, so that they voices will be represented in our country. Even if students are unsure who’ll they vote for, if they register, they’ll be ready to go to the polls.”

    ASI, working with University Transportation & Parking Services (UTAPS) and the Residence Hall Association, is trying to help students get to the Vote Center. Free Stinger Line shuttles, marked with “Buzz the Ballot” logos, will run between the residence halls and Modoc Hall on Saturday, Feb. 29. Additionally, the Hornet Shuttle Stinger Line will run between select campus bus stops and the Vote Center on Sunday, March 1, through Tuesday, March 3.

    The Spin scooter company is offering Sac State students a $5 discount on Monday, March 2, and Election Day. Students can enter the promo code SACSPINSTHEVOTE on the Spin app to apply the discount.

    ASI also operated voter-registration and information booths throughout campus beginning in late January and provided students with an easy-to-understand version of California’s Official Voter Information Guide.

    Sac State made history during the November 2018 midterm elections as the only California university with an on-campus voting center. Sacramento County was one of five counties that instituted balloting under guidelines of the 2016 Voter’s Choice Act, a model that replaces traditional polling places with Vote Venters.

    ASI adopted the Vote Center in 2018 and came up with novel ways to register students and get them to the polls. The efforts were so successful that Secretary of State Alex Padilla proclaimed Sac State the CSU's creative-outreach winner for the 2018 California College and University Ballot Bowl.

    On Election Day 2018, Sac State students – many voting for the first time – waited up to three hours to get inside the Vote Center.

    “But not one student was upset,” said Courtney Bailey-Kanelos, Sacramento County’s registrar of voters. “Instead they said, ‘Isn’t this awesome?’ They truly felt proud that so many of their fellow students came out to participate in the election.”

    The inaugural on-campus Vote Center also proved popular with the Sacramento community, as the 588 Conditional Voter Registrations issued there were the most among Sacramento County’s 78 Vote Centers. And, only 20 centers accepted more vote-by-mail ballots than the 2,400 dropped off at Modoc Hall.

    “My first time to vote, I dropped off my ballot at Modoc Hall,” said Elizalde.

    Edfitor's note: An earlier version of this story provided incomplete dates for shuttle service. The shuttle runs through Tuesday, March 3.

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