During orientation, Bloomsburg freshmen were given the opportunity to register to vote in this year’s upcoming election. As the papers were handed out around the room, apathetic sighs and complaints escaped the mouths of most students.
The registration forms were full of questions that some 18-year-olds have not even considered, such as what political party we want to register under.
There was a good amount of confusion around the form, which frustrated many students. The forms were crowded, small font, and not explained properly.
Information was also needed for the forms that some did not have on hand or memorized, like social security numbers.
According to the United States Census Bureau, “…voters 18 to 24 were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout, reaching 49 percent in 2008 compared with 47 percent in 2004.”
While taking part in elections is an important part of being an active citizen, the process to register to vote could be easier.
In New Jersey, while renewing a license at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the attendant asks you if you want to register to vote. A small form is filled out right there and it is a simple process. This process is held in Pennsylvania however only after you go to get your license renewed, which for many, will be after the election.
A letter is also sent in the mail to the home of the voter on his/her 18th birthday with a simple form to fill out to register to vote.
Both of these ways seem so much easier than handing someone a form with no previous warning.
At Johnson and Wales University, voter registration is just a click away.
“It is easy,” says freshman Giulianna Baier. “I just click on the hyperlink and it takes you right to the voter registration website.”
One solution to make uncomplicated would be to send the form to register at the university to the residence over the summer so the student has plenty of time to think and consider the questions on the form.
It would also reduce the amount of empty spots that would be on the form in the end because the student would have access to their security information.
Another way to make the registration for voting process less painful is to inform the students more on why it is important to vote.
According to Scarborough Research, young voters make up ten percent of the registered voters.
As college students, sometimes it feels like there is no power that can be controlled by just students, but with a number like ten percent, there is a lot that students can do.
There is another underlying issue that is going on with today’s youth: apathy.
While in that room during orientation, fellow students seemed like voting simply did not concern them.
Some did not fill out the form because they simply did not care. There needs to be a change in this attitude.
Jessica Baptiste from The Ticker writes, “According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning &
Engagement, only 42 percent of the eligible young people between the ages of
18 and 24 voted in the 2000 presidential election.”
While there is a good amount of young people who do vote, there could be a good amount more. The question now is: “How to encourage students to vote?”
Rock the Vote provides an easy way to register to vote while appealing to a younger audience. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Neil Patrick Harris, Miranda Cosgrov, and many more appear in a video on the main page to urge the youth to vote.
Young voters are the future of this country. It is time to stand up and have a voice in the election.