The GOP's national effort to stifle college voting

Using every trick in the book:

With fewer than 100 days until the highly anticipated midterm elections, and political activists and college administrators attempting to galvanize students across the country to go to the polls, the GOP-controlled government in New Hampshire did something unusual.

Governor Chris Sununu signed a law last month that required part-time residents to switch to permanent status if they want to vote, making it harder for students to participate. Democrats derided the move as a “poll tax” and a way to suppress the student vote, which is already the lowest among voters of any age in part because of barriers students face in registering.

This attack on Millennials and the earliest batch of GenZers can also be viewed as an attack on progress. Republicans know these potential voters bring to the table heightened critical thinking skills, a trait that is woefully absent in the traditional GOP base, meaning their shallow attempts to paint regressive policies as "good for the country" will fall on deaf ears. And the fact these efforts are underway in numerous states means it is orchestrated, and definitely not a coincidence:

A little less than two years ago, critics and advocacy groups accused Paul LePage, Maine’s Republican governor, of trying to intimidate voters when posters distributed by his office appeared on the campus of Bates College falsely informing students that they needed to establish state residency in order to vote.

In response to these various efforts to repress student voters, students and other activists started turning out to campaign for candidates who support protecting voting rights, said Austin Laufersweiler, a spokesman for Let America Vote, a progressive group founded by former Missouri secretary of state Jason Kander, a Democrat.

“I would say it’s affecting them specifically now,” Laufersweiler said of student voter suppression. “Traditionally it’s been people of color, working voters, low-income voters, groups that have been disenfranchised, but now it’s expanding more into the realm of young people.”

Advocates say the attempts to thwart student voters are compounded by the fact that the student themselves are often confused by the process of registering to vote because they are either doing so for the first time, outside their home state, or without much guidance.

Reason # 137 why we need to crush the Veto-proof majority Republicans hold in the General Assembly. When they lost the Governorship, they lost control of election boards (state and county). They are trying desperately (and unconstitutionally) to grab that power back but, until they do, their most likely assault on college voters will come from Legislation. And we need to make sure when Roy Cooper sends it back to them with a failing grade, it stays there until they fix it.

Tags: 

Comments

Bad, but not new

“Traditionally it’s been people of color, working voters, low-income voters, groups that have been disenfranchised, but now it’s expanding more into the realm of young people.”

Over the past several years the photo ID requirements states have tried to pass have often said things like hunting licences should count, but student IDs from universities shouldn't even when those are public universities such that it's a government issued ID. My opinion is we should be making it easier for everyone to vote, rather than trying to narrow down who can have the most access to the voting booth.

Our legislature tried to eliminate pre-registration for young people something like 5 years ago I believe as a part of H-589. They also tried, and luckily failed, to pass Senate Bill 666. The branding on that one made it easy to defeat for obvious reasons. Here's an image of some students at ECU tabling against that bill about 5.5 years ago.

Personally I want to see successful young Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, Democratic Socialists, etc chapters active everywhere. I can't imagine that the parties I'm more aligned with wouldn't do better with that energy, and the parties I'm less aligned with wouldn't be improved by those insights.

I'm betting if I was better versed in the history of youth voting I could draw a fairly straight line from the youth voting roadblocks from the Twenty-sixth Amendment all the way up to now.

The Mayor of Takoma Park, MD once told me they let 16 and 17 year olds vote in their local elections, and they blew everyone else out of the water. And it makes sense if you think about it. We wait to give people their first option to vote at 18, often after they've moved out of the house for college or work, may not have access to a family car any more, and are suddenly in a new community where they might not know the local issues, and that's when we tell them it's time to start voting. It's no wonder that it doesn't take a lot of roadblocks to make it hard for them, or that if we started them younger that they'd actually vote in high numbers.