Day after day, from college campuses to high school classrooms, we hear stories about needless bureaucratic barriers that prevent young people from voting. For young Americans, the greatest barrier to participation is the out-dated process itself. Our complicated registration process varies state-by-state, and our country’s antiquated, paper-based electoral system is riddled with restrictive rules and red tape that don’t reflect advances in technology or meet the needs of modern life.
You’d think that the most basic element of our democracy – the very right to participate in our government that is guaranteed to all of us – would be something we would constantly work to improve. Yet somehow voting is an archaic ordeal, inconsistently implemented from place to place, and disturbingly, manipulated by whether people in power want someone like you to show up at the polls.
It doesn’t need to be this hard to vote.
The Millennial generation is the largest and most diverse in our country, and it is the most urban, mobile, interconnected and technologically savvy generation in history. Young people use social media and technology to solve problems, but they’re still supposed to sign and snail mail registration forms at the Post Office every time they move?
This generation volunteers at record rates, but is supposed to accept that millions of their peers aren’t taught about civics and elections in school? And does anyone really think that this generation won’t notice if we keep trying to move backward, not forward, by adding roadblocks and eliminating positive reforms? Some states are actually ending Same Day Registration and others are threatening young people who volunteer to register their friends with steep fines.