Housed in USC Dornsife, the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics is taking measures to ensure that students, faculty and the public can reach the polls with ease on Election Day. On Nov. 6, the institute, in partnership with USC Transportation, will run a free tram throughout the day, stopping at five polling stations both on and off campus.
The free tram buses, which can be tracked at usctrams.com, will run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., departing every 20 minutes. The last bus will depart Leavey Library at 8 p.m.
In 2008, USC had only two polling places — one on the University Park campus and one adjacent. But the current student population was large enough to suggest that more stations could be added, said Kerstyn Olson, Unruh Institute deputy director. The polling station previously available at Marks Tower is now gone. During the primaries, a new station was added at the Cardinal Gardens housing complex, which attracted a fair amount of foot traffic.
There are currently three polling places on campus: the Cardinal Gardens Customer Service Center, the Arts & Humanities Residential College at Parkside and North Residential College’s Harris Hall.
There are also several polling places just off campus, including ones at Vermont Avenue Elementary School, First African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, senior housing project Ward Villas, Hoover Recreation Center and Our Savior Parish.
Ensuring that students exercise their right to vote has always been a priority for the Unruh Institute, Olson noted.
“Voting is using your voice to make your claim in the world,” she said.
In 2008, the institute worked with College Republicans and College Democrats to hold voter registration drives. Since then, such drives have been held during summer orientation to ensure that students start thinking about registering “from the moment they step on campus.”
In addition to scheduling the Election Day tram, the institute will host a viewing party of election results in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center’s outdoor plaza.
Record numbers of attendees at this year’s election debate viewing parties suggest that election night will be another busy evening. Olson said organizers are hoping for as many as 400 students on Nov. 6. Large screens will be brought out to the plaza to accommodate the participants.
“The signs point toward much more involvement and enthusiasm than in 2008,” Olson said, emphasizing that the event isn’t just for students. “This is a free service that the community can take advantage of. It’s not just for USC students, faculty and staff — it’s for anyone.”
In addition, the USC College Democrats and the USC College Republicans will be co-hosting “Get Out the Vote” efforts throughout the day in the Annenberg East Lobby beginning at noon.
The following is a list of five on and near-campus polling places:
- Residents of Cardinal Gardens, Century or La Sorbonne can vote at the Cardinal Gardens Customer Service Center.
- Residents of Webb Tower, Fluor Tower, Arts & Humanities Residential College at Parkside or International Residential College at Parkside can vote at Parkside Arts and Humanities, Room 1217.
- Residents of Troy Hall, Troy East or Cardinal and Gold can vote at Our Savior Parish at 3201 University Ave.
- Residents of the NORTH side of The Row or Severance Street Apartments can vote at Hoover Recreation Center.
- Residents of the SOUTH side of The Row can vote at USC Catholic Center, Our Savior Parish.
- Residents of Marks Hall, Marks Tower, Pardee Tower, New Residential College, North Residential College, Trojan Hall and Birnkrant Residential College can vote at Harris Hall (North Residential College).