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Rock the Vote

ASB hosted an event called Rock the Vote with hopes of encouraging students to vote in elections and participate in government.

Taking place on April 28 in the Northwood theatre, the event featured local politicians who sat in a panel. After introducing themselves, they gave answers to five prepared questions and then took questions from the audience.

“Attend a city council meeting or a school board meeting,” said Joe Sturges, District Assemblyman Don Wagner’s Representative. “What happens locally has more impact on your day to day life than who the president is.”

In addition to Sturges, the panelists included Irvine Councilwoman Lynn Schott, IUSD Board Member Ira Glasky, and banker and former presidential campaign participant Scott Fassett. ASB vice president senior Deepika Chandrashekar and ASB student representative senior Courtney Fassett took the main roles in organizing Rock the Vote, with Chandrashekar on stage to facilitate the discussion.

The speakers stressed the fact that every vote counts. Schott shared the story of when a proposal she tried to pass to give more art funding to schools lost by only 286 votes, while Sturges emphasized the importance of young people voting. He shared the statistic that in the 2012 presidential election, only 45 percent of voters from ages 18 to 29 voted. This gave more value to each vote that was cast.

Encouraging young people to feel optimistic about voting rather than cynical, Sturges reminded the audience that people died for the right to vote. At first, only white male property owners could vote, then women, and after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all Americans.

“Hold politicians accountable. This is why we have endless cycles of elections. Power to the people you give them your voice,” Sturges said.

Fassett recounted his experience working on the press for the Bush election campaign, setting up cameras beforehand at wherever the president would arrive. One time, Fassett enjoyed the opportunity to ride on Air Force One.

Schott encouraged students to pursue their passions. She realized her passion was education after having children. When her children started kindergarten, Schott wanted to support them. Now, she works on the school board to oversee decisions such as what new buildings will look like and which teachers will be hired.

On Thursday, April 29, the day after Rock the Vote, ASB handed out Voter Registration Packets to students 18 years old and older at the Oak Tree. The election for president, Irvine mayor and two city council members will take place on November 8.