Vote Because Your Dad Says So, and Other Lessons from an SFSU Voter Rally

This election season, KQED News has been visiting college campuses around the Bay Area and talking to students about government, politics and the future of the country. You’ll be able to hear some of those discussions beginning Tuesday on KQED 88.5 FM and on

The colleges we visited included San Francisco State University, where last week students and administrators held a pre-election rally. The event gave students a chance to register to vote and learn more about the issues and candidates from those involved with campaigns.

We took photos of the rally that we think provide some interesting lessons on voting and campaigning this election season:

1. When it comes to voting, parents can be inspirational. San Francisco State University administrator Jared Giarrusso offered this reason for voting during a voter rally Wednesday at the university.

Jared Giarrusso at an SFSU voter rally

Photo by Ian Hill/KQED

2. There are lots of other reasons to vote as well. Giarrusso was at the rally with a student group handing out the “Why Vote?”backpacks. Event attendees could fill-in-the-blank with their own reasons for going to the polls.

Student Sonya Soltani writes "To Have a Voice!" on her backpack. Ian Hill/KQED.

3. Young people do want to vote. At least that’s how it seemed at Frances Matthew’s table. Matthew works with the San Francisco Department of Elections, and she was at the rally to register voters. She appeared to be pretty busy during most of the event.

Ian Hill/KQED

A rally attendee fills out voter registration paperwork. Ian Hill/KQED

4. Games and free food can be a useful campaign tool. History lecturer Steve Leikin (left) and his donuts (center) were popular with students at the event. Leikin and other members of the California Faculty Association were lobbying those at the rally to “dough not” vote for Proposition 32, which would would prohibit unions and some types of corporations from contributing directly to candidates or campaigns.

Photo by Ian Hill/KQED

Anti-Proposition 32 folks were out in force at the rally. (We didn’t see any pro-Proposition 32 folks there; you can read more about the proposition here.) Student Eduardo Montoya, in red shirt, helped run a popular bean bag toss.

Photo by Ian Hill/KQED