Updated 1:45 p.m. March 3 to clarify registered voters should vote at their assigned polling places (which, if you have a campus address, may be the Garrison Room in the Memorial Union). If you are registered elsewhere in Yolo County, and still wish to vote on campus, you should ask for a provisional ballot.
The University of California and student groups are encouraging all eligible Californians to register to vote by Friday, Feb. 18, for the state primary election, which comes early this year, March 3.
Not sure if you are registered or where you might be registered? Want to confirm your party affiliation or your choice of no party preference? You can check here, on the secretary of state’s website. To change your voter information, you must reregister.
For many students, this will be their first time voting in a presidential primary, and navigating the registration process can be tricky. Luckily, UC Davis has political clubs to help students figure it out.
The Davis College Republicans have been working to register voters since the fall.
“We did a voter registration drive back in October where we registered students on campus and went door to door in a few neighborhoods, but our recent tabling has been more focused on recruitment and campus engagement,” said Noah Dickman, president of the Davis College Republicans.
The Davis College Democrats have been involved in UCWeVOTE — the UC Student Association’s standing campaign to register voters and provide voter education.
“During move-in weekend, we registered or updated the registrations of around 400 first-years,” said Molly Mermin, executive director of the Davis College Democrats. The organization plans to continue voter registration through Feb. 18 for the primary, and in the fall for the general election.
‘It’s your future, have a say!’
The University of California has created a campaign to engage students in the election. College-aged voters (18 to 24) are the least likely to cast a ballot, according to UC.
“In 2014, just 19 percent of eligible young voters went to the polls,” the UC system said. “That number surged to 40 percent in the 2018 election, in part because of ‘get out the vote’ efforts by UC and other colleges and universities around the country.”
Once you’ve decided to register — and this applies to staff and faculty, everyone, as well as students — you have a couple of options:
- Find a tabling event (perhaps on the south side of the Memorial Union), and register in person.
- Register online with the secretary of state’s office (the form offers a choice of nine languages). Or, if you prefer, use Rock the Vote.
- Register with your own county elections office, in person.
UC reminds students they have a choice of where to register: at their home address or where they are living while attending school. (Note: Financial aid is not affected by a student’s chosen address.)
When and where to vote
For the March 3 primary, you have until Feb. 25 to notify your county by mail that you want a mail-in ballot. After that, you will need to apply in person. More information on voting by mail.
(Note: Some counties, including Sacramento, have converted to all-mail elections. Ballots must be returned by mail or dropped off at voting centers.)
While registering to vote by Friday, Feb. 18, will make your life and poll workers’ jobs easier (your name will be on the voter roll, and you will get a regular ballot), the 18th isn’t the last day you can register, thanks to a new California law. It allows people to register on election day at their county elections offices or at polling places. You will get a provisional ballot to be counted only after your registration is verified.
Come election day, students, staff and faculty will be able to register AND vote on campus:
- Register — Associated Students of UC Davis, in partnership with Yolo County, will offer election day registration in the ASUCD offices on the third floor of the Memorial Union.
- Vote — In the Garrison Room on the MU’s second floor, you will find a Yolo County polling place. Anyone who is registered anywhere in Yolo County can vote here. You can also vote here if you are changing your registration to Yolo County. All polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In California, roughly a third of voters are registered with no party preference — but that does not mean they cannot vote in the March 3 primary. Here’s how:
- To vote in the Democratic, American Independent or Libertarian primaries, simply ask for one of those ballots at your polling place. (If you are voting by mail, you should have received a postcard asking which ballot you want. If you did not receive a postcard or misplaced it, contact your county elections office to request the ballot you want.)
- To vote in the Republican, or Green or Peace and Freedom primaries, you will have to switch your registration to any of those parties — and then you can receive one of its primary ballots.
Besides the presidential primaries, California’s March 3 ballot also will include top-two primary contests for all 53 seats apportioned to California in the House of Representatives, along with local contests and measures, if any.