Knowing where you register to vote and how you register to vote can be a difficult task. Luckily, for some college students like Andie Lindsey, Femhawks, College Democrats and NAACP wanted to help students know exactly what to do for voter registration. These organizations hosted voter registration Tuesday and Wednesday in the SUB Overhang to help students register to vote online and also show them how to apply for absentee ballots in the future.
According to Cameron Ott, a member of College Democrats, the organizations used their laptops to guide students through the process of registering online. Most high schools do not explain or help students register to vote. The Wisconsin Legislature proposed a bill in 2012 that eliminated a requirement for high schools to work with local election officials to appoint voter registration deputies so students and staff can register, according to civicsforall.org. According to studies, most young people do not vote because they lack information on the political system, issues, candidates and voting procedures.
For Lindsey, a freshman accounting major, the voting process was not something she understood or was taught in high school. Recently, Lindsey turned 18 and saw the three organizations hosting the voter registration. So, she decided to take “advantage of the opportunity.”
Jessica Hawkins, a member of Femhawks, said that Femhawks saw the need for students on campus to understand how to register to vote. So, they contacted College Democrats and NAACP to help grow this event.
“A lot of college students across the nation have shown a lack of interest in voting and we were hoping to help change that here at ULM,” said Hawkins, a forensic psychology graduate student.
According to the Pew Research Center, the millennial generation doubled in voting between 2014 and 2018, which is from 22% of millenials voting to 42%. However, according to Ott, millennials still have the lowest voter turnout of any group. Ott said voting for college-aged students was “almost necessary.”
“If more of us voted, politicians would pay more attention to college voters, and we can make real change in the country,” said Ott, a junior political science and Spanish major. “It’s always important to have a diverse opinion in politics and age is definitely included in that.”
According to NBC News, 63% of millennials don’t feel like they or their interests are represented well by Congress. Hawkins said this was millennials biggest issue—feeling like their voice doesn’t matter or their vote doesn’t count. But Hawkins said that soon millennials will be in charge of our country.
“We need to know how to navigate political information and decipher fact from fiction in order to select individuals who will best serve us and the country,” Hawkins said. “By voting and being informed in politics now we will be able to … help the younger generations come into their political voices.”
Lindsey is ready to step up and take her role in voting because she wants to “have a say” in who runs the country she lives in.