Letter: Same-day voter registration would increase turnout on college campuses

Only 27 percent of youth voted in the 2022 midterm elections

Judith+Gibson-Okunieff%2F+Daily+Collegian+%282016%29

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/ Daily Collegian (2016)

By Letter Contributor

When I turned 18 four years ago, I was so excited about getting the chance to vote in the presidential election, making my voice heard. At the time, I was naive about the realities of voting, and how easy it was for me as a young white woman compared to other members of my community. In this country, and especially as young people, we are so passionate about democracy that we have forgotten what democracy actually entails. Only 27 percent of youth ages of 18 to 29 turned out to vote in the recent midterm elections, and having been a part of the youth voter movement, I am not surprised that this number is so low compared to older generations.

As the Vice Chair of MASSPIRG, a student advocacy group working to increase civic engagement, I experienced first-hand the frustrations young people experience with the voting process. Many of my peers were unaware of important deadlines, like for voter registration or requesting an absentee or mail in ballot. Even though we tried educating as many students as possible about voting since September, when Election Day came there were still many students completely unaware of the voting process and ultimately were unable to vote. On the other hand, there were numerous students who were well prepared, but they did not receive their ballot in time and weren’t able to vote.

To avoid these issues, the best solution is same-day voter registration, which would allow students to register on their college campus on Election Day. If this country is so dedicated to democracy, then we need to streamline the voting process for young people, since we are the ones who will be inheriting this country.

Caitlyn Egan is the Vice Chair of MASSPIRG. She can be reached at [email protected]