Pot and pollution were the issues that brought a record number of CSUN students to the polls Tuesday.
Susan Levin, poll inspector at the Satellite Student Union (SSU), said nearly 600 voters turned out at the SSU polling booth Tuesday. This was an enormous increase compared with the 13 voters who turned out for the primary election last June, she said.
“I think most of the people are here because of Prop 19 and Prop 23,” Levin said. “I was here during the June primary and I had a total of 13 people for the whole day. Any time you put pot on the ballot, you’re going to have a big turnout. It’s a no-brainer, especially on a university campus.”
At the time of deadline, Proposition 19, which sought to legalize the sale of marijuana, had been defeated by California voters.
CSUN student Marquise Foster, 19, voted yes on the measure but anticipated a no vote by the state overall.
“I don’t think Prop 19 will change realistically,” said sophomore Foster, journalism major. “I don’t think that people loving to smoke (marijuana) is going to really inspire them to come out to the polls. I’m a medicinal patient myself and I know there are some people that get it just because they can, and then there’s people like me who really need it for whatever reason. I’ve seen firsthand how it can help people.”
Some student voters and the majority of California voters disagreed.
“I don’t feel it should be legal to smoke marijuana,” said Bryan Everitt, 23, biochemistry major. “To me it’s a drug. No matter what the effect, is it’s still a drug, and drugs shouldn’t be legal.”
The other hot topic student voters said brought them out was Proposition 23, which aimed to roll back AB 32, an environmental law capping carbon emissions until unemployment went down to 5.5 percent for one year.
Organizer Joseph Frewer from Environment California said they had collected more than 8,500 pledges from CSUN students to vote no on the measure.
Junior Ryan Perry, anthropology major, said voting no on Proposition 23 was one of the issues he felt strongly about.
“I’m not an environmentalist or anything,” said Perry, 20. “I realize what they were trying to propose, that it will increase our economy and they’ll reverse it once it gets better, but I just don’t think it’s well thought out.”
At the time of deadline, the proposition had been defeated by voters.
Voter turnout was high at a neighboring area polling station, said Bob Castle, the poll inspector at the United Methodist Church.
Castle said there was a 35 percent turnout. He added that typically only seven to 11 percent of voters come to the poll.
Computer programmer Raul Leon was one of the voters at the United Methodist Church. He said the choice Californians make for governor was one of the most vital for the state’s future.
“Especially in the governor’s race, Jerry Brown, with so many years of experience and his principles since he was very young governor, he gave up the mansion and drove his little car and gave up all the luxuries. (It’s) what we need now in government more than ever,” Leon said. “He sets an example.”
The race for governor was also the reason CSUN senior Nina Fleming, 21, came to the polls.
“I am definitely supporting Meg Whitman. I just love what she stands for,” said the sociology and social welfare major. “I think she’s getting a lot of bad press as far as legalization of immigrants and all those things like that, so I just wanted to support her.”
Brown defeated former eBay CEO Meg Whitman in the governor’s race. He holds the titles of California’s oldest and youngest governor in the state’s history.
The Republicans swept the House of Representatives, gaining the 39 seats needed to gain majority control of the House, but Democrats did retain control of the Senate.
At the time of deadline, Incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer was holding on to her seat representing California in the Senate.
The CSUN chapter of Pro-Choice Students for Boxer canvassed the campus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. encouraging students to get to the polls.
“I don’t care who they vote for, it’s just important that they vote,” said senior Dorian Adams-Wilson, 25, gender and women studies major and a member of the group.