California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was in San Luis Obispo this week to crown Cal Poly the winner of the inaugural California University and College Ballot Bowl. That's a new competition from the Secretary of State's office and various nonprofits aiming to encourage voting among California's students. Of the schools that competed, Cal Poly students and administrators registered the largest number of students to vote in the 2018 election: 3,178.
Padilla presented student leaders and administrators and with a trophy Wednesday night.
“When we launched the program, we were hoping to leverage some school spirit and campus pride much like you see in collegiate sports, but here in the [area] of civic engagement,” Padilla said.
Jasmin Fashami is Cal Poly’s Associated Students Inc. student body president. She credited the win to registering students in person and on paper.
“Going to a classroom, going to a club meeting, [saying] here’s your form, you can be done with it in just a couple minutes, here’s exactly how you fill it out," Fasham said. "We think that was one of the best ways to reach students, rather than online where you can get distracted and there’s no tangible resolve right in front of you."
Fashami added that since San Luis Obispo is such a collegiate town, it encourages students to be civically engaged.
San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong assisted the school with tallying registrations.
"Statistics show that if a young person votes for two [consecutive] times [early on], they will become lifetime voters,” Gong said. “So just getting them engaged is the first step.”
In all, 45 public and private California colleges and universities participated and 10,000 students were registered to to vote in the 2018 General Election.