Last week, many of you probably raised your eyebrows when former Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer announced that the Florida Republican Party actively engaged in voter suppression efforts. Over the last few years, from Maine to Montana, we have seen a concerted effort by Republican legislatures to make it more difficult to vote.
Of course, Democrats haven’t sat by the sidelines. In New Hampshire, Govenor John Lynch vetoed a voter ID law that would make it more difficult for students at colleges like the University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce University, and Dartmouth College to cast their ballot -- a critical voting block in a small but important state. Just an hour or so north of Concord, in Maine, voters overwhelmingly rejected a law that would have eliminated the Pine Tree State’s 30-year-old Same Day Voter registration law.
But while Democrats have stood strong, laws in Ohio and Pennsylvania are poised to make it more difficult for certain groups to vote in (or before) November. Unless voters are actively mobilized to make a stand for the right to vote in this election, we could watch as voter laws become more restrictive over the years to come.
Rock the Vote’s Electionland is a great, nonpartisan, state-by-state guide to voting requirements and important dates. This fall, if you live in one of the states with a restrictive new voter ID law, be sure that you actively inform students and your peers about what they’ll need to vote. While it’s crucial that students know the important differences between the important differences between the major candidates, it’s just as important that we protect the vote for years to come.
College Caucus Secretary-Treasurer
Young Democrats of America