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The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and political science department hosted an event to give voters clarity on California propositions.

With midterm elections just around the corner, citizens have the opportunity to vote on a wide variety of initiatives. In California, the upcoming ballot has 11 initiatives ranging from issues of property tax to animal rights.

To help make sense of all the initiatives Dr. Jennifer Walsh, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), and the political science department hosted an event on Oct. 16 to explain and clarify the initiatives on the California ballot.

The event was held at APU but was also open to the community. It was also recorded to later be posted online. All attendees arrived with notepads, voter guidebooks and phones ready to take notes and become further educated on what they were voting for.

To begin the event, Walsh provided resources for voters on how to gather more information on the initiatives and to check their voter registration status. As Walsh began the presentation, she explained the initiatives through a powerpoint. The details of each proposition were laid out in slides followed by an explanation of what a “yes” vote and “no” vote means. Walsh attempted to identify the essentials of each proposition and shed light on details that most people are worried about or are interested in.

One of the initiatives Walsh said may have the biggest effect on college students is Proposition 10, which addresses rent control. The proposition could be the most impactful to students as most college students or post-grad residents rent out apartments or homes, especially in Los Angeles. While the success of either outcome can’t be determined, Dr. Walsh said it is common for communities with rent control to be of greater benefit for college students as it creates lower rents and the ability to sub-lease.  

As the evening wrapped up, Walsh explained her goal for the evening was, “to try and summarize the key pieces of information” and “to try and eliminate the bias that comes through on some of the media advertisements, and even some of the official arguments.”

Walsh felt it’s important for students to get into the practice of figuring out what information is being presented to voters at each election.

“If you’re over 18 you’re responsible for your part in democracy. So, whether you’re a temporary resident or a long-term resident you’re going to be impacted by the decisions that are made,” she said. Walsh encouraged students, and all voters, to not be intimidated by issues, but to dive in and do their best to understand the issue.

“The important part is to get into the habit of regularly voting. It’s a good practice for democratic involvement,” Walsh said.

Dr. Jim Willis, a professor in CLAS, echoed the importance of citizens understanding and staying informed on the propositions they’re voting for.

“The easiest thing to do is just to sit in your living room and watch these ads, but it can also give you a very distorted view of what the propositions about, and it’s only going to give you one side of the issue,” Willis said.

“This is public money. This is taxpayer money, it’s coming out of everybody’s pockets and so we ‘ought to be concerned with what’s going on,” he added.

Erica Hanse, a junior social science major, attended the event for a reason similar to Walsh’s goal: to gain a better and clearer idea

of what exactly she was voting for. Hanse wanted a better understanding of the propositions instead of relying on what one-sided commercials told her to believe. Hanse also believes in the importance of college students to vote on initiatives. “Because it’s where we live and it’s pretty much the only thing that we kind of have control over.”

Voting for propositions and the general election begins on Nov. 6.