Why Young People Don’t Vote

Maybe it’s because localities put so many barriers in front of students registering to vote?

Late last month, as a voter-registration drive by supporters of Senator Barack Obama was signing up thousands of students at Virginia Tech, the local registrar of elections issued two releases incorrectly suggesting a range of dire possibilities for students who registered to vote at their college.

The releases warned that such students could no longer be claimed as dependents on their parents’ tax returns, a statement the Internal Revenue Service says is incorrect, and could lose scholarships or coverage under their parents’ car and health insurance.


Last fall, in Statesboro, Ga., in a hotly contested city council race, there were challenges to the registration of about 1,000 Georgia Southern University students who had used dormitory addresses. “We threatened suit, but the issue went away when they figured out that the challenges weren’t going to affect the results of the election,” Mr. Greenbaum said.

In 2003, in Waller County, Tex., the district attorney wrote a column in a local newspaper threatening to prosecute students at Prairie View A&M, a historically black university, for illegal voting. The project sued, and the district attorney backed down

This happens all across the country. In many places, students have to change their voter reg information every time they switch dorms. Oftentimes, towns don’t want students from other states to mess with their local elections, so they pull shit like this to make it hard for students to vote. On one hand, you don’t want large Universities overpowering the small towns they’re adjacent to. On the other hand, you don’t want to disenfranchise anyone. It’s a problem.


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