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What We’re Reading: CVP’s College Students and Voting report

It’s been 42 years since the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 with the 26th Amendment, yet challenges to student participation in the voting process are still prevalent.  To mark this anniversary, Campus Vote Project, a project of the Fair Elections Legal Network (and an ADP partner organization!), released “College Students and Voting: A Campus Vote Project Perspective.” The report details the challenges students faced and some of the ways those challenges were overcome in 2012. In the report, Campus Vote Project provides specific examples of some of the creative approaches from last year and what can be expected in 2013.

Over the past year Campus Vote Project has worked with administrators and student organizations on college campuses throughout the country to help students overcome a variety of barriers that often discourage them from voting. Through this experience, the project observed several trends in the student voting experience.campusvote_sm

In 2012, young adults, ages 18-29, made up almost 19% of the electorate. While this is a slight increase from 2008, when students move to a new community to attend college they often face obstacles to voting that can drive down participation. These include:

  • Not knowing voter registration rules and deadlines,
  • Not having acceptable ID for voter registration or voting purposes,
  • Confusion about where to vote,
  • Lack of transportation to the polls, and
  • Election officials or poll workers who are unaware or unsympathetic to student voting challenges.

In addition to new laws in 2011 and 2012, intimidation from elected officials and dissemination of incorrect information created barriers for students.

To overcome these challenges in 2012, students, administrators, faculty, voting rights advocates, and others worked together to educate students and provide information on deadlines, where to vote, and making sure they had the proper information so they were able to cast their ballot.

A copy of the report can be found here: http://bit.ly/ZNL46w

For more information go to: www.campusvoteproject.org

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