A steady flow of eager voters wrapped around the block of Cal State Fullerton’s Alumni House on Tuesday to cast their votes for the midterm election, hoping to weigh in on important issues on the ballot.
CSUF has seen increased voter registration with students, placing No. 2 in the University and College Ballot Bowl behind Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Across California, a record 19.6 million people were registered to vote ahead of the election, a number that Secretary of State Alex Padilla said is almost unprecedented in a midterm election.
“Today has been very popular and lots of turnout both at our office and in the polling places throughout the county,” said Jackie Wu, the community outreach manager with the Orange County Registrar of Voters in between breaths while dealing with Election Day chaos.
Orange County was the location for many highly-contested congressional races including the 39th, 45th and 48th District. In the 39th District, which encompasses portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties, Republican candidate Young Kim and Democratic candidate Gil Cisneros competed to take long-term Republican representative Ed Royce’s seat, who did not run for re-election.
Bryan Cantley is a professor of 3D design and design foundations at CSUF and said he was delighted by this year’s election.
“I’ve never seen this much energy and interest in a general election. It’s nice to see this much energy and enthusiasm on something that is usually swept under the rug,” Cantley said.
In the 2016 presidential primary elections, 20 percent of registered voters voted at a polling place on Election Day, while 29 percent voted by mail-in ballots.
Erica Dickey, a registered Orange County voter, emphasized the need to vote and described it as her civic duty. As a mom, Dickey said the candidates need to represent what her family believes in.
On the California ballot for this election cycle, there were 10 different statewide candidate races that spanned throughout the different counties and districts. California had all 53 seats for the House of Representatives up for election across the congressional districts, and a position in the U.S. Senate.
Democratic candidate Gavin Newsom beat out the Republican candidate John Cox to become California’s new governor.
Along with the numerous state and local government offices up for election, there were 11 propositions on popular topics such as repealing the gas tax, allowing rent-control regulations and increasing the food industry’s caged-animal living quarters.
Issues like the dialysis treatment were the main reason certain voters took to the polls, such as Jazmin Flores, an Orange County resident who voted in Anaheim.
Flores has family members that depend on dialysis treatment on a regular basis. Proposition 8 was one of the things she looked forward to voting on.
Others like Ahmad Ahmadi, a muslim immigrant that has been in the country for 40 years, felt pressured to vote because of society’s current state of affairs.
But some would rather focus on the policies that impact them.
“My interest is in politics. I felt really inclined to learn more about our government and that influenced what I’m majoring in college. (Voting) is a civic duty that you have to your country,” said Ashley Rodel, a political science student.
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