BERKELEY (CBS SF) — UC Berkeley is known for having a politically active student body, but in the recent midterm election, students barely showed up to vote.
According to The Daily Californian, only 14 percent of residents went to the polls in District 7. It’s one of eight Berkeley districts that was redrawn last year for the purpose of including as many UC Berkeley students as possible in a single voting bloc.
The Daily Cal estimates after counting in all the mail-in ballots, that only 2,000 of the 8,605 active voters in District 7 will have voted.
The low-turnout is a surprise considering two of the seven measures featured on the Berkeley city ballot have the potential to affect student life at UC Berkeley. Measure S, which ultimately passed with 64 percent of votes, proposed redrawing district lines to give students a stronger voice on City Council. Then Measure D, which passed by a 3-to-1 margin, was a campaign to make Berkeley the first city in U.S. to pass a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
“While we understand the time pressures students face, we are surprised that so many students were unable to allocate an hour of their day to go vote,” the Daily Cal senior editorial board wrote in an editorial.
But Berkeley’s District 7 was not alone in this election. The entire county saw the lowest voter turnout in 72 years where in 43 states, less than half the eligible population voted. California’s turnout was lower than the state’s record low turnout of 50.6 percent of registered voters in November 2002.
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