Get out the vote
During the past week, there’s been quite a bit of talk around campus about the importance of registering to vote. University groups and national organizations like Rock the Vote, — whose colossal, red, white and blue bus could be found parked near the Second Reformed Church on College Avenue Friday — have began buckling down their efforts to register as many college-aged voters as possible before the state’s deadline on Oct. 16.
We laud the efforts of these organizations. The unobstructed ability to vote is part and parcel with an authentic democratic society, and college students specifically occupy a very unique place in the voting process. A great way to encourage students to exercise their privilege is to excuse them from class on Election Day to vote — a measure which has already been proposed by the Rutgers University Student Assembly during their first meeting of the semester.
Voter turnout, specifically for young people, has been inexcusably low.
During the 2008 election cycle, voter turnout was about 49 percent for people between the ages of 18-29. Statistics like these are, in themselves, pretty disheartening, but it’s important to consider that most of college-aged voters are new to the process. We’ve never voted before getting to college, and we likely don’t know how to get ourselves registered even if we wanted to. But what ultimately keeps University students from getting out and voting is lack of time.
It’s for these reasons that voter registration campaigns, as well as RUSA’s newest proposal, are so important. Taking the time out to get students to register, together with excusing them from classes that conflict with voting dates and times, can make enormous strides in influencing voting behavior among the youth demographic. We fully support RUSA’s proposed measure, and encourage faculty and administrators to do the same.
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