The Ballot Bowl is a friendly competition that encourages higher education institutes in California to obtain the highest number of students registered to vote. This friendly competition began on Aug. 15, 2022 and will continue until Election Day on Nov. 8, 2022.

Hoping to inspire young voter turnout, former Secretary of State of California Alex Padilla kickstarted the Ballot Bowl competition. The 18-34 age range represents the largest number of registered voters in California, but only 11% of their mailed ballots were returned in the 2022 primary election.

This chart depicts the discrepancy between mailed ballots and returned ballots during the 2022 primary election.

This chart depicts the discrepancy between mailed ballots and returned ballots during the 2022 primary election, with the 18-34 age group having the lowest return. Photo credit: Julianne Le

“Our job doesn’t end with the registration. It’s also about information and engagement,” said Jodi Balma, Political Science Department Co-Chair. “The only way to keep our democracy is to have informed and engaged voters.”

Psychology major Imaan Nadeem was unaware of the Ballot Bowl but shared her eagerness to participate in the general election. Having recently turned 18-years-old, Nadeem is preparing to register to vote.

Nadeem said, “It’s not that we don’t care obviously. Like when it comes to protest, I feel like our demographic, our group, is one of the most proactive. When it comes to actually voting, I just feel like we don’t take the time to go.”

Cassidy Chang, an advertising and graphic design student, said, “I feel like a lot of young voters feel intimidated by the polls because either they’re told that they’re too young, that they’re inexperienced, that they’re naive.” Sources like Balma’s podcast A Slice of Orange offer young voters the chance to get informed and combat this mindset.

On Monday, Oct. 10, Balma will be hosting a presentation at 5:30 p.m. in Room 1429 to inform attendees about the general election’s seven ballot measures. The League of Women’s Voters offers Voter’s Edge, a tool for voters to conduct independent research on ballot candidates and propositions.

Chang, who is President of Fullerton College’s Alpha Gamma Sigma chapter, discussed why researching candidates is important to her voting process. She values “what they can do for the collective rather than just for a group of people.”

The general election’s ballot includes candidates for local, statewide, and federal government positions such as Fullerton City Councilmember all the way up to Superior Court Justice. In addition, voters can vote for or against seven ballot propositions. These measures span from topics such as reproductive rights to educational funding.

“Young people need to understand the direct connection between their vote and elected officials,” Balma said. “Social justice is on the ballot in your local community.”

Balma has helped to organize the “Meet the Candidates” event which offers students and locals the chance to interact with candidates running in November’s general election. This event will take place on Monday, Oct. 17 in Room 224/226/228 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Fullerton College currently ranks second out of 116 in the Ballot Bowl with 37 students. In order to be counted as a Ballot Bowl participant, students can register to vote online and participate in the competition.

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