Demand that Colleges Protect Student Voting Rights for the November Election

Demand that Colleges Protect Student Voting Rights for the November Election

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We are current and former college students, parents, faculty and staff. We are associated with all types of institutions: two-year and four-year, public and private.

Protecting student voting rights has always been important. But the coronavirus pandemic has brought an unprecedented amount of uncertainty to student voters. This fall, millions of students will be separated from their campus communities and will be left to fend for themselves against over-complicated vote by mail laws.

We, the undersigned, pledge to support student voting rights and ask all colleges and universities to provide students with all available resources so they can safely and freely exercise their fundamental right to vote in November.

We ask all colleges and universities to commit to the Five Steps To Ensure That Student Voting Rights Are Protected:

1. Provide every student with a clear summary of the state’s registration and voting requirements.

2. Provide every student who requests it the necessary confirmation of residency and a form of address verification the student may use to vote.

3. Provide students with resources to assist with the process of voting.

4. Provide regular encouragement and deadline reminders.

5. Hold local election boards and legislators accountable for their suppression of student voters.

We do not take this pledge lightly. Student voting rights have been under attack for decades—and this year will be no different. Vote by mail is particularly disenfranchising for young voters. A study of Florida’s 2018 election found that voters 18-21 faced a 1 in 20 chance of their mail ballot being discarded, while a voter over 65 faced an approximately 1 in 200 chance of meeting the same fate.

We encourage all colleges and universities to implement all Five Steps and prove to their students they will do everything in their power to ensure students can cast a ballot and have it count in November—even if they are taking virtual classes.

This letter also serves as a warning to local governments: you must make sure students have an equal opportunity to have their vote count. We will not sit quietly on the sidelines as students are disenfranchised.

Voting is an essential part of a student becoming an engaged member of their community. This election will impact young voters for decades to come, and only through supporting student voting rights will their voices be heard.