College students are busy. And voter registration can be a low priority. But registering to vote is a very quick process.
When it comes to young voter turnout, political organizations have much to talk about. According to Pew research data, the number of millennials eligible to vote was similar to that of baby boomers in 2016.
Despite that fact, only half of young eligible voters turned out to vote on the past elections.
By 2020, young voters are projected to become the largest American voting-eligible population.
Millennials are concerned about the future, with a 2017 poll by the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School showing 67 percent are fearful about America’s future while 55 percent believe America is on the wrong track.
But will they turn out to vote? Will government reform come from inside or outside traditional party structures? While these and other questions begin to take shape, campaigns and political groups are now turning their attention to Millenial’s concerns.
Progressive voter registration group, NextGen America, has been active on USFSP campus. They are making sure that college students are informed about voting and have easy access to registration.
Stefanie Reynolds, a field organizer for Pinellas County, is visiting campus classrooms to ask students about their voting status and answer questions about the process leading to the Nov. 20 elections. Reynolds will be on campus until Nov. 7
On the importance of college voters
College voters matter because we are the largest voting bloc in the country. Only 23 percent turned out to vote in the last Florida midterm elections. So that means our voices are not being heard in Tallahassee or D.C. The only way is to activate those voices and engage them and inform them on the process of voting and why it’s important and how it affects your life even if you don’t consider yourself political. It makes a difference. Real change can happen versus the status quo continuing.
Do you think that uncertainty on how to register to vote or lack of easy access to voter registration may come into play for college students?
Yes. There are these things and misconceptions people have on how to register to vote that don’t make sense.
Are voter pamphlets and sample ballots important during the voting process?
Yes. I very much recommend that. This year the ballot is supposed to be historically larger than most years. Florida restructures its constitution once every 20 years so it’s going to be inundated with new amendments, and those amendments are going to be loaded with legal jargon and if you’re not researching these amendments you’re not really going to know how to vote. So, it’s extremely important. Why be a voter if you’re not going to be an informed voter?
What do you recommend to out-of-state college students who want to vote in Florida?
All they have to do is find me or anyone else doing voter registration. They can go online. They can go to the Supervisor of Elections office. It’s very easy. All you have to do is update your address. There’s a little box that says ‘update your address’ and you just click that and you’re good.
Why is NextGen visiting USF classrooms?
Going into the class and having the professor standing there and having this energy happening where the professor is saying, ‘hey you should do this’, ‘this is a really great idea’, and I’m there and I have the forms. It makes everything streamlined and easy. I can set the forms down, they raise their hands, I hand them out and I talk to them. I can talk to 40 people at once. It can yield a high voter registration and it can get more people informed at once.
*Visit NextGen American to learn more about the organization’s mission.
You may also like DARE TO DREAM: DEALING WITH DACA WHEN YOUR BEST FRIEND IS A DREAMER.