Happy Voter Registration Day!

In honor of National Voter Registration Day I plan to send the following announcement to my Introductory Biology class:

Today is National Voter Registration Day. The deadline to register to vote in California is October 24th if you want to vote in the November Presidential Election. College students can register to vote at either their college address or permanent home address. You can register to vote online or by mail: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration/. You can check your voter registration status here.

I hope that you use some of the critical thinking skills you are learning in your college classes to carefully consider the many issues on this year’s ballot. For some of you, it is your first chance to vote for president. At ScienceDebate.org you can see the presidential candidates’ stances on some important science issues, including biodiversity, vaccination, mental health, and public health. There are many other races on the ballot, including a California Senate seat, every House seat, and many local offices. California also has 17 ballot initiatives this year, including propositions regarding marijuana legalization and two opposing measures on the death penalty. This year’s book in the SJSU Reading Program is Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy. Stevenson co-founded the Equal Justice Initiative and has spent his career representing poor clients on death row. This book is a very eye-opening look into the application of the death penalty in this country that you may find useful as you consider Propositions 62 and 66. KQED’s Forum also had a very good discussion of the two initiatives. I hope you will all join me at the polls on November 8th.