Democratic strategy, local voter turnout, and community involvement were highlights at Fullerton Public Library’s postelection panel on Nov. 14. Five panelists shared their views on 2022’s midterm election, focusing on a conversation moderated by Cal State Fullerton’s Scott Spitzer. The panel included five instructors: Jodi Balma from Fullerton College and Matthew Jarvis, David Traven, and Robert Robinson from Cal State Fullerton.
“This should’ve been a real big red wave,” said Jarvis. “The Democrats played a risky game with the strategy of encouraging the Republicans to nominate some of their worst.” So far, the Democratic Party gained one seat in the national House of Representatives while the Republican Party lost one seat.
The midterm elections were held on Nov. 8, and nearly 170,000 Orange County ballots have yet to be counted as of Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. Monday night’s panel revealed a 33.6% voter turnout in Orange County on election night which rose to 45.2% as of 5 p.m. on Monday night as ballots continue to be counted.
“The midterms are a way for people across the world to get a pulse for where the American people tend to be,” said Traven. Presidential candidates typically discuss foreign policy more than state and local candidates, but Traven explained how foreign policy was involved in the recent midterm election.
Balma provided statistical slides to help the audience visualize voter turnout rates in both Orange County and Fullerton. “Most Democrats vote by mail and most Republicans vote in person,” said Balma. One factor influencing this is Donald Trump’s theory about the unfair counting of mail-in ballots.
Cal State Fullerton revealed a high student voter turnout from students aged 18-34; this is largely due to Spitzer’s initiative to promote voter registration on campus. Spitzer shared that Cal State Fullerton University participates in the Ballot Bowl, a statewide competition that encourages colleges to acquire the highest amount of registered student voters.
524 Cal State Fullerton students participated in the Ballot Bowl. Spitzer also noted that he assigns class projects like the “Town Hall,” which teaches students how to navigate political figures and ideas.
“Fullerton College needs to engage,” said Balma. “We had some events, but the only students that showed up were mine.” One of the political events that took place at Fullerton College was “Meet the Candidates,” which was promoted by Balma and intended to educate student voters on candidates running in the general election.
Voters attending California Colleges and Universities commonly fall within the 18-34 age range and belong to the “the highest block of registered voters,” according to Balma. However, most students only register and don’t actually cast their vote. This is possibly a result of schools “doing a terrible job of telling you why it’s important to vote,” said Balma.