A nationwide poll conducted by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School found that 63% of young voters polled said they “would definitely vote,” suggesting a turnout similar to 2008, when enthusiasm for Barack Obama’s candidacy has led to higher voting rates than in any election since 1984.
Energized by issues such as climate change and the Trump presidency, students emerged as a crucial voting bloc in mid-term 2018, when their turnout of 40.3%, according to the Tufts Institute for Democracy and higher education, was more than double the rate four. years earlier.
In the face of these growing numbers within an electoral group that leans heavily on Democrats, Republican lawmakers in many states, including several battlefields, have taken steps they say were aimed at preventing voter fraud. – including adopting restrictive identity rules and Byzantine registration requirements also made it more difficult for college students to vote.
Elected officials have also taken steps to diminish the electoral power of campuses by redistributing, as well as limiting early voting sites, purging voters’ lists or refusing to allow polling stations on campus. And the logistics of the pandemic could alter where young people vote, potentially affecting the races where candidates, usually Democrats, rely on the support of students living in their districts – but many of those students are now at home.
“Every aspect of student voting ability is under attack,” said Maxim Thorne, CEO of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, a nonprofit group focused on protecting the voting rights of young people. “You have to fight these battles on all fronts, whether you are in a state as blue as New York or as red as Georgia.”
In New Hampshire, where six in ten students come from out of state, one of the highest rates in the country, a law supported by Republicans came into effect last fall, requiring newly registered voters who lead to obtaining a driver’s license and automatic registration in the state, which can cost hundreds of dollars a year. The law was passed after years of calls by Republicans across the state to restrict student voting access.