Poll Representatives: How It Endangers Your Safety

Valerie Vera

“Excuse me, do you have 45 seconds to spare?”, is a phrase heard all the time. Students using a minute of their time to register to vote but little do they know the dangers they face.

“The people manning the tables are very rude, aggressive, and motivated by money,” said Steve Selby, Director of Campus Safety.

Right next to the "X"
Students giving their information to a complete stranger in a red hat outside the library on Tues., Sept. 20. Photo credit: Christian Mesaros

So why are students going to the poll representatives? It’s because many believe that these tables are associated with Fullerton College and are unaware of the possible endangerment.

Classic examples of these dangers have included students getting verbally and physically harassed. Campus Safety has received numerous complaints on the poll representatives being pushy, using inappropriate language and even following students around.

However, these individuals are protected by not only the First Amendment of the Constitution, but also the North Orange County Community College District’s policy regarding speech on campus.

Under the NOCCCD’s Board Policy 3900 Section 6.0 says faculty “…shall not prohibit the right to exercise free expression, including but not limited to the use of bulletin boards designated for such use, the distribution of printed materials or petitions”.

The tables will only get officially moved if they are in disruption of the academic progress.

This leaves many students frustrated as they feel it becomes an issue of personal safety when it comes to signing the voter registration.

When students fill out forms, personal information is being recorded such as addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers. Not only is that information being recorded, but the forms often are thrown in the trash occasionally, allowing anyone to have access to it.

The culprit
A poll representative who was not willing to give out his name, yet will ask you for name, number and address. Photo credit: Christian Mesaros

“These people get paid every time you fill out your name and this occasionally gets thrown in the trash” said Selby.

Recent complaints have also included disruptive calls to female students from the representatives having romantic proposals on the weekends. “I have received many disturbing calls asking me if I am single and ready to mingle”, says Danielle Vasco, a full-time student.

There are different ways to stay safe, however, the main solution being to say no. “Always say no to register”, says Lisa McPheran, Director of Communications, “You have the right to not participate.”

You can register vote online through http://registertovote.ca.gov/ or vote.usa.gov. It is a safer way to have your personal information guarded and not handled by complete strangers.

Vote Online
Campus Safety provides information to its students about how to register safely.

Public education of this issue have been posted throughout campus as well as in the President’s Weekly and through social media like Facebook.

” I care very deeply of the safety of my students” ,Selby ensures, “We want to inform them to be secure with their own safety and to guard their personal information. Do the safest possible thing”.