With the Nov. 4 election just days away, the infamous college town of Isla Vista may cast the swing vote for the 3rd District supervisor race.

Making University of California, Santa Barbara history, more than 10,000 students have registered for this year’s election. The UC Students Association and the United States Student Association Foundation initiated UC Students Voice! — a statewide movement to register UC students.

About 50,000 UC students throughout the state were registered, with UCSB accounting for nearly 20 percent of that total with 10,241 student voters registered.

Associated Students External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Corey Huber said he was surprised by the large number registered.

“More people wanted to vote this year than in 2004 or 2000 because, I think, there are larger issues on the table,” Huber said.

 

Since most students are not originally from the county and only stay as long as it takes to complete a degree, many do not pay attention to local issues, Huber said. But, he added, 3rd District supervisor candidates Doreen Farr and Steve Pappas have made their presence known on campus with countless signs and student representatives spreading information.

Pappas said because he has such strong support in the valley, his campaign shifted focus to the southern part of the district during the last four weeks. He said his godson, who is a UCSB student, has headed a student group campaigning on campus.

“Clearly (the I.V. vote) is important, and I’m very, very aware it could play a crucial role,” Pappas said.

 

“And it will play a role in the outcome of the election.”

Farr, a registered democrat, she said she has support throughout the valley, with Goleta and I.V. showing the strongest support.

“First of all, I think it’s important to remember that this is nothing new with UCSB,” Farr said. They’re in contests with other UCs (to register voters), and that’s not unusual, but it was very successful this year.”

Huber said he has noticed much more publicity for Farr on campus than for Pappas. He also said the majority of the students registered democrat, so more may vote for Farr.

Farr said the students identify with her views on sustainability, preservation and community planning such as the Isla Vista Mater Plan.

 

“They identify with certain issues, and my priorities and my background living here and working on these issues resonate with students,” Farr said.

Pappas, a registered bipartisan, said he has noticed a moderate trend with the students he talked to.

“I don’t know that I agree that they tend to be more liberal,” Pappas said. “I think there is a new generation of students coming through campus talking more moderate; they seem to be in the middle.”

Moderate thinkers or not, the seemingly most predictable outcome would be that the students — the majority of whom are registered democrats — will vote for Farr. An interesting element in the election, however, is that the university’s left-leaning student-run newspaper, the Daily Nexus, has endorsed Pappas.

 

David Ferry, the Daily Nexus editor-in-chief, said Pappas was the only non-democrat the paper endorsed this year. He said he was interested to see how the students vote, since the Nexus is the most available source of printed, local information on campus.

“I think it is clear (the Nexus) reaches more people on campus for local issues than any other publication,” Ferry said.

Pappas said he was surprised by and proud of the endorsement, which he lists on his website, and thinks it will help win him the student vote.

“I think the Nexus is respected, and if students read it and they know (the Nexus) endorses me, it hopefully helps them make a decision,” Pappas said.

 

The Nexus sway does not always hold true, however, since a full 40 percent of students did not vote for Pappas or Farr in the June primaries. Farr pointed out that the 2004 Nexus endorsed candidate for supervisor, Slick Gardner, lost.

“It didn’t seem to affect it last time,” Farr said.

“The thing to remember about the Daily Nexus is they’re a very independent body.”

Farr has received her own newspaper endorsements, including the Santa Barbara Independent and the Santa Maria Times.

 

Ferry said he thinks Farr or Pappas will help more with I.V. issues than Brooks Firestone, the 3rd District incumbent, and more than former 3rd District supervisor hopeful David Smyser would have. To the staff of the Nexus, the two candidates actually seemed very similar, he said, but, he added, the staff came to the conclusion that Pappas would do more for the district as a whole.

Ferry said he believes I.V. is important to the district because it could help even out the polar sentiments between the north and the south portions of the county.

“If we’re going to have this swing vote, if we’re going to have five districts, then we need this southern half of the 3rd District to even things out,” Ferry said.

Reach Lauren Crecelius at lcrecelius@syvjournal.com