Capitol Alert

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In a sea of negative ads over the final campaign week, here's one with a positive message.

Several students from Mount San Jacinto College in Riverside County won a statewide contest this month with a 30-second clip encouraging fellow young Californians to vote Tuesday. The ad features a student complaining about how he can't afford gas, how his classes were cut and how he did not receive financial aid. As the kicker, another student asks whether he voted.

The Mount San Jacinto College students won over 10 other entries from California community college multimedia students, taking home $500. The League of Women Voters, Foundation for California Community Colleges and Student Senate for California Community Colleges sponsored the contest.

"Civic engagement has been taken out of the high school curriculum, and that's true for colleges and universities as well," said Leslie Smith, an associate vice chancellor at the City College of San Francisco, who helped organize the contest. "We've made a real effort to reach out to students at community colleges, many of whom come from populations that have been disenfranchised and don't turn out to vote."

The ad has been running on the California Channel and on a League of Women Voters website so far; Smith said organizers also have asked cable networks to run the spot.



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