Shaping our country’s future, exercising your rights

To: UC Santa Cruz community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

On Tuesday, Americans will decide for themselves the direction they’d like to see our country head. Voting is a hard-fought right in the United States, and I urge all who are eligible to exercise it, either through mail-in balloting or by going to the polls. You have the power to shape our country’s future.

My hope is that we’ll have the national election results relatively quickly. My sense, however, is that with a record number of absentee and mail-in ballots already cast, declaring a winner in the presidential race may not be immediate. It’s possible we may not know who our next president will be for weeks.

Many in our community will undoubtedly want to come together Nov. 3 — even if only virtually — and in the days afterward to share experiences and raise their voices about this election. Coming together to declare shared values and find paths forward is important. As we all continue to navigate the COVID pandemic, the health and safety of our campus and broader communities must also be considered. Please continue to follow the recommendations of public health officials: practice physical distancing, wear a mask, and avoid large gatherings.

Free speech is both constitutionally protected and a fundamental value of our campus, and we have strong policies in place that protect it. We embrace our responsibility to sustain the free-speech rights of those who choose to exercise it. Every part of our mission as a university depends on the robust exchange of ideas. As campus citizens, though, it is also imperative that we embrace the responsibilities that accompany these rights. Our actions can show that it is possible to exercise your freedom of speech both passionately and safely. Learn more about free speech in our community and on our campus at UCSC’s new Freedom of Expression website.

Whatever the outcome Nov. 3, we will remain steadfast in our community's commitment to pursue justice and social equity. Those values have been our ethos since our founding days, and we continually strive to more closely align our actions with our aspirations.

Same-day voter registration
In the meantime, if you’re registered to vote and have yet to cast your ballot, take two minutes to double-check your registration online through California’s voter-status website. If you find anything incorrect, or if you discover you are not registered, you have options. Same-day voter registration, known as conditional voter registration in state law, is a safety net for Californians who have missed the deadline to register to vote or to update their voter registration information for an election.

Eligible voters who need to register or re-register to vote can complete this process and vote today or tomorrow at a county elections office, polling place, or voting center. Their ballots will be processed and counted once the county elections office has completed the voter-verification process.

Visit for a list of voting locations where you can complete the Same Day Voter Registration Process.

Cast your ballot
While polls will be open for in-person voting Tuesday, many people have chosen to vote by mail. Ballots can also be dropped off at any polling station on Election Day or at designated ballot drop-off locations prior to Election Day. If you are not voting in Santa Cruz County, check your local county for more information.

UC Santa Cruz will again have a polling location on campus at the Merrill Cultural Center. The polling station will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday for in-person voting and ballot drop-off. There is also an official ballot drop-off box located in front of the Bay Tree Bookstore. The campus is also providing election and voting information online.

The runup to this election has been intense. Do not stop short of the finish line. The greater and more representative the voter turnout, the better our democracy functions. Vote to help shape a better tomorrow for all.