Student Voting
Political apathy and subsequent low voter turnout of youth (18-29) is often cited as fact. Many decry their political disengagement and apparent laziness, but recent election cycles have presented a very different and much more troubling reason for why many youth do not vote.

Across the country, students reported that they were subjected to increased scrutiny, unequal treatment, and at times outright harassment when they attempted to register to vote or cast a ballot on Election Day. Such acts of voter intimidation and suppression are particularly distressing because most of the targeted individuals are registering to vote for the first time and are unfamiliar with election laws.

Despite the fact that every college student is entitled to register to vote at the residence he or she considers "home," including a campus residence, many college communities actively prevent college students from registering to vote where they attend school. Students around the country have faced difficulty registering to vote because of local officials. In the case of historically African-American Prairie View A&M in Texas, the District Attorney publicly stated that if students attempted to register to vote they would be prosecuted for voter fraud.

Common tactics used to dissuade students from registering to vote include:
  • Misinformation - telling college students they cannot register where they attend school or that if they register to vote at school they could be in jeopardy of losing financial aid, or that they are only able to vote where their parents pay taxes
  • Residency requirement legislation - The New Hampshire legislature passed a law after the 2000 presidential election that required newly registered voters to register their car and obtain a New Hampshire driver's license within 60 days or face criminal prosecution
Not only do students face challenges when trying to register to vote, but they also face challenges on Election Day.  In some instances, poll watchers have challenged students who are registered to vote by asking them to sign an affidavit affirming their citizenship and that they will only vote once. Long lines plagued many college campus polling places during the 2004, 2006 and 2008 election cycles.

Although students are not traditionally considered a targeted demographic for voter suppression, it is clear that they, too, face many hurdles when attempting to register and vote.

Articles on Student Voting
October 18th 2009
St. Paul will cast vote on instant-runoff elections
Star Tribune

On November third, St. Paul citizens will cast their ballots to decide whether IRV will be used in their city council and school board. But there has been some resistance from elected officials.

October 18th 2009
Voters to vote on how they voted
Aspen Daily News

Aspen has been using IRV since 2005, since the may 2007 election the local government will put out a poll to decide whether to go back to the old voting system or tweak the current one.

October 18th 2009
Reforming runoffs could boost turnout
Crain's New York Business

State Sen. Liz Krueger says instant runoff voting would reduce spending, negative campaigning and boost turnout.

October 18th 2009
RCV: System results in more candidates
The News Tribune

Susan Eidenschink thinks that RCV should continue to be used in Washington.

October 17th 2009
Campaign begins for Instant Runoff Voting

A Rochester City Council member is urging other city officials to consider changing how votes are cast within the city.

[ Previous ] [ Next ]