NEWS

National Voting Coalition Announces Student Voting Bill of Rights

PRESS RELEASE: Students Learn Students Vote Coalition
CONTACT: Danny Fersh, danny@slsvcoalition.org

Following a record-setting election for youth turnout in 2020, the Youth Voting Rights Subcommittee has released an official Student Voting Bill of Rights: A document enumerating core policy priorities that, if implemented equitably, would ensure every student and young person can vote under fair, equitable and accessible conditions in future elections. 

The Bill of Rights’ provisions are based on a combination of research into how electoral laws shaped voter turnout in 2020, and feedback from the network of students and advocates who work with the core member organizations of the Youth Voting Rights Subcommittee: the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), Rock the Vote, and the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition. 

The document’s goals are to ensure equitable voting access in order to continue the recent trend of increased democratic engagement and participation among youth and college student voters, which can at least in part be attributed to increased outreach and engagement efforts directed toward this specific voting bloc. 

The Bill of Rights also serves to enumerate universal standards for voting accessibility – a benchmark that currently varies significantly from state to state due to vast differences in voting laws. It focuses on three distinct areas: The right to register to vote without restrictive deadlines or documentation requirements, the right to cast a ballot without major restrictions or barriers, and the right to an educated and empowered vote. Here is the Bill of Rights in its entirety: 

 

  • The right to register to vote, at home or on-campus, without any restrictive deadlines or documentation requirements, including:
    • The right to pre-register to vote starting at age 16.
    • The right to remain registered to vote, even if they miss an election.
    • The right to register to vote using easily accessible and widely available documentation.
    • The right to register to vote online without needing a specific state ID.
    • The right to same-day voter registration, without burdensome requirements or restrictions

 

  • The right to cast a ballot without any major restrictions or barriers, including:
    • The right to choose to vote by mail for all voters.
    • The right to choose to vote early in person for all voters.
    • The right to vote regardless of past or current convictions or incarceration status.
    • The right to vote without providing photo ID.
    • The right to an open and accessible polling place.

 

  • The right to an educated and empowered vote, including:
    • The right to accurate and comprehensive civics education.
    • The right to choose representatives in fairly-drawn districts.
    • The right to access fair and accurate information about all candidates in local, state, and national elections.
    • The right to access materials in one’s preferred language.

 

About the Youth Voting Rights Subcommittee

Started in 2016, the Youth Voting Rights Subcommittee meets monthly to discuss youth access to voting through various lenses: public policy, informing young voters about the democratic process, and sharing tools and resources to support advocates’ efforts to expand young people’s access to the ballot. The group is organized by Campus Vote Project, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), Rock the Vote, and the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition.

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