Voter registration deadline is Monday--make your voice heard in November
Chancellor Blumenthal coauthored the following opinion piece with Mohammad Qayoumi, president of San Jose State University. It appeared originally in the San Jose Mercury News on October 17, 2012.California voters face some tough decisions in this year's election, and the stakes for K-12 and university students are high. That's why we're joining our students and supporting voter-registration campaigns taking place on our campuses. The outcome of this election has profound implications for the long-term viability of Silicon Valley, which is why it's imperative that every eligible voter registers and votes.
Decisions by the electorate could determine the funding of all levels of public education in California, shaping the quality and availability of programs across the state. Whatever your position regarding particular candidates or ballot measures, your voice must be heard. The outcome of this election is too important for anyone to sit this one out.
In the long run, your vote will impact the economy of Silicon Valley, because we live in a region driven by game-changing innovations. Many of those innovations are rooted in our public schools and universities, were most young people get their start. Our public schools educate the future scientists and engineers that make the Valley run. Our public universities conduct research that leads to the sort of breakthroughs that fuel the regional economy. Without a reliable stream of funding for schools and universities, today's students will be shortchanged, and tomorrow's breakthroughs may languish.
Already, resources are spread thin. At UC Santa Cruz, the number of undergraduate classes has declined by 8 percent since 2008, even as undergraduate enrollment increased by 10 percent, resulting in larger classes and more students per faculty member.
At San Jose State, the steep decline in state support is accelerating efforts to increase revenue, reduce expenses and adopt efficiencies so SJSU can continue to serve as many eligible students as possible. Stable state support would provide SJSU with breathing room during this challenging time.
As leaders of two local public universities, we salute our students for leading voter-registration drives. As Silicon Valley Leadership Group board members, we support the decision to ask all 375 member companies to send nonpartisan internal communications to encourage employees to register and vote. We hope other Silicon Valley businesses will join us.
Let’s stand together and pledge to work toward a strong voter turnout on Election Day. The first step is to register to vote by Oct. 22. It can be done online at http://registertovote.ca.gov.