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Losing The Student Vote In Today's Mayoral Election

Sara Newman |
May 21, 2013 | 5:53 p.m. PDT

News and Opinion Editor

Youth voter registration, Creative Commons
Youth voter registration, Creative Commons
UCLA students have made their feelings about today’s mayoral election quite clear: they simply do not care. 

After having spoken to over 60 UCLA students, all but one of them admitted that they didn’t vote. Some chalked it up to hectic finals schedules, lack of American citizenship, or living outside of the city of Los Angeles, but for a majority of students they simply didn’t know who was running or that there was an election at all.

“I really don’t know much about the candidates,” Megan Quin, a sophomore biology major, explained. “All I know is that they’re both campaigning against the faults in their opponent so fiercely that it’s hard to pick positively.” 

This goes to show that apathy is a contributing factor to why some students ignore elections. Some of the youth vote is lost because people don’t like either of the candidates. By emphasizing their opponent’s faults rather than their own qualifications and abilities, people perceive both of the candidates in a more negative light. 

For most students, however, it isn’t apathy or Greuel and Garcetti’s nearly identical policies that are deterring student voters, it is the fact that they didn’t even know that there is an election going on today. 

When asked if they voted in today’s mayoral election, the most common responses were “ummmmm,” “there’s an election today?” and simply “no.” From people perched outside of the library to the cafeteria to the medical school, nonvoters made up a majority everywhere. Even a group of student activists perched outside of the campus center confessed to being totally ignorant of today’s election. 

Arguably, it is the students’ responsibility to get more involved in the political sphere. Whether by reading the school newspaper, following politics via twitter, or receiving e-mailed newsletters, there are many options out there for students to stay aware of what is going on locally and nationally.

Elizabeth Trujo, a junior sociology major, clearly knows the importance of keeping herself informed. “I prefer Eric Garcetti because he seems to represent more independent thinking and risk taking,” Trujo decided after having personally researched the candidates. “I like his stance on development, especially with the current economic problems and I feel like he’s done more for people of color in Los Angeles.”

Trujo’s initiative is impressive, but with most young residents choosing not to vote, mayoral candidates may not be making a strong enough effort to reach out to young voters. While USC  and UCLA have hosted mayoral debates, Greuel and Garcetti have not been making as much as an effort to get involvd  with  thousands of other student voters at college campuses across the city. 

The importance of the youth vote in winning an election should not be overlooked, the candidates may just have to work a little harder to get it. 


Follow more of Neon Tommy's Mayoral Election Coverage


Reach News Editor Sara Newman here and follow her on twitter. 



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