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Pavley introduces bill to make polling places available on college campuses

Posted: February 15, 2013 5:07 p.m.
Updated: February 15, 2013 5:07 p.m.
 

SACRAMENTO–Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has introduced legislation to provide college students with better access to voting and registration.  Senate Bill 267 would require counties to designate campuses of the University of California, California State University, or California Community College, which have 1,000 students or more living on campus and meet accessibility guidelines, as their own elections precinct.  Additionally, students who vote by mail and live in the same county as the campus could drop off their ballots at the campus polling place. 

“As a former civics teacher, I know that engaging students in the democratic system of government is critically important.” said Pavley.  “SB 267 is all about making sure that students have access to the ballot box.  With same-day voter registration becoming a reality in 2014, my bill will give students convenient access to register and vote in future elections.”

Current law gives local elections official’s discretion in establishing voting precincts and locating polling places.  Although some campuses have been successful in obtaining a polling place, others have not.  This creates unnecessary hurdles between students and the polls, particularly for those studying far away from home. 

Thousands of new voters attend college in California – 234,000 students attend classes at the University of California, the California State University system serves nearly 427,000 students, and the California Community Colleges enroll over 2 million students per year. 

College campuses are ideal polling places for students. SB 267 provides a convenient voting location for students who attend classes while working.  Campuses offer ample space, are available to students running between classes, and are accessible to handicapped students who might otherwise have a harder time finding transportation or leaving campus.  Designating college campuses as their own precinct will greatly increase the likelihood that students will vote without disrupting the surrounding community.

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