LOS ANGELES – Today, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla launched the first ever California University and College Ballot Bowl competition. The Ballot Bowl aims to increase civic engagement and voter participation among California students. The competition includes all of California’s major higher education systems, including the California Community College (CCC), California State University (CSU), University of California (UC), the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) systems.
“California is home to many great college rivalries, and our students love a good competition—that’s why we are launching the Ballot Bowl,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “As students return to campus for the start of a new academic year, we want to harness school spirit to improve student voter registration. Young people could be the largest bloc of voters in the nation—but they have to register first. By engaging campuses across California and across academic systems, we have a unique opportunity to reach students statewide.”
“California youth are not maximizing their voting power at the polls during midterm elections,” said Jonathan Stein, head of the voting rights program at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “The Ballot Bowl is a collaboration of statewide elected officials, nonprofit advocates, higher education systems, and student leaders that all want to change that.”
The Ballot Bowl is a competition between the higher learning institutions of California that will run through the October 22 statewide voter registration deadline. Schools must register their campus with the Secretary of State’s office in order to participate and have students register to vote through a unique online URL. The unique URL allows students and alumni to select their college or university when they update their registration or register for the first time. The Secretary of State’s office has launched a Ballot Bowl website with a toolkit for students who want to hold campus registration drives.
Awards will be given to one campus in each education system based on the campus with the largest number of students registered to vote, largest percentage of its student body registered to vote, and campus with the most creative approaches to registering students to vote. The Ballot Bowl website will contain a “results” page where campuses can track the competition in real time and see how they rank among institutions in their system and overall statewide. The Secretary of State’s office will tally all online registrations as well as voter registration cards submitted by each registered campus. The competition will end on October 22—the voter registration deadline for the November 6, 2018 General Election.
The Ballot Bowl was developed by the California Students Vote Project, a project of the California Secretary of State in partnership with the California Lieutenant Governor and a coalition of nonprofit organizations that aims to increase civic engagement and voter participation among California University and college students.