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Student majority precincts impact local elections, report says

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DECEMBER 05, 2012

A finalized report on election results released at the end of November provides a breakdown of votes on local measures and state propositions in precincts with large numbers of students.

According to the Alameda County election results, most residents of those precincts voted against Measure S, with a majority voting in favor of Measure R and state Proposition 30.

Although Councilmember Jesse Arreguin said that 30 percent of voters who vote in national and state elections usually do not vote in local elections, he said that he noticed more participation in the local elections this year than in previous years.

Measure S — which would have prohibited sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. with limited exceptions — failed by a margin of just 4 percent.

A majority of the precincts near the campus with a high student population largely voted in opposition to the measure, which may have played a substantial role in its defeat.

“If you just look at the results of the precincts where there are high numbers of students … (students) really were the margin that defeated Measure S,” Arreguin said.

In District 8, which encompasses most of the east side of campus, 251 voters living between Bancroft Way, Channing Way and east of Piedmont Avenue voted against the measure, compared to the 125 voters who supported the measure, according to the report.

According to ASUC Senator Nolan Pack, student involvement played a large role in raising awareness about the sit-lie measure and its impacts on campus and the community.

“The Measure S campaign worked at an incredible ground gain,” Pack said. “People go door to door walking and talking about the impacts, and a lot of those canvassing were overwhelmingly students.”

Measure R — which will amend the existing city charter to eliminate the 1986 boundary lines and adjust district boundaries to reflect the city’s updated population — passed throughout the city with 65.92 percent of the vote.

Overwhelmingly high support was seen in precincts around the campus, which includes parts of Districts 4, 6, 7 and 8, which all border the campus and contain large student populations.

According to report, in one precinct on the south side of campus between Durant Avenue and Channing Way, 519 residents voted for Measure R, as opposed to the 94 residents who voted against the measure.

“Students acknowledge that this was an opportunity to have more of a voice and thus supported it in broad numbers,” Arreguin said.

Despite the city’s large student population, the current — and controversial — boundaries divide the city in such a way that it has not been possible to create a supermajority district of UC Berkeley students since the redistricting rules were established in 1986.

At the state level, Prop. 30 also drew enormous support from precincts with many students. Passed on Nov. 6, the proposition will increase the tax rate on Californians earning more than $250,000 and temporarily raise the state sales tax by a quarter of a percentage point to increase funding for K-12 education and universities.

More than 80 percent of residents in almost all precincts in District 7, which includes most of the south side of campus, voted in favor of the measure.

“Prop. 30 certainly sparked a lot of interest in students on the UC Berkeley campus … and that was really represented by large lines at the dorms,” said ASUC Chief Deputy of National Affairs Nicholas Kitchel. “(It’s) definitely an example of how students were driven to vote.”

Contact Daphne Chen at [email protected].

DECEMBER 05, 2012

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