Cory Booker, Dick Durbin, and Raja Krishnamoorthi Intro Bill to Help Students Vote
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), introduced a bicameral bill to lower the barriers to voting for millions of college students. Booker and Krishnamoorthi joined dozens of student leaders from around the country to announce the bill -- called the Help Students Vote Act -- last week at a press conference at the Capitol. The legislation would allow for federal guidance to institutions of higher education in order to ensure their students have the resources they need to register to vote. Historically, young adults have voted at the lowest rates of any age group in U.S. elections and this bill is designed to ease some of the unique barriers college students face when registering to vote and voting. “Some of the greatest movements in history have been driven by young people,” Booker said. “From the Freedom Riders of the 1960s to the Vietnam War protesters of the 1970s to the most recent student activism sweeping the country around gun violence – our nation’s young people have continuously pushed our country to a better, more just, and more progressive future.” Specifically, the legislation would require institutions of higher education to make a good faith effort to distribute voter registration forms to each student at least twice a year by sending a bi-annual email, and no less than 30 days before voter registration deadlines for federal and state elections, with links to voter registration information. It would also designate a staff member or office as the “Campus Vote Coordinator” to answer student questions about voter registration and authorize funds for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education grants to be awarded to institutions of higher education that greatly exceed the requirements to promote political engagement. “When students begin college each year, often having never voted or even registered, they frequently lack the institutional support and resources to navigate the voting process,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We need to do everything we can to ensure that all Americans have access to the ballot box and this legislation will help engage hundreds of thousands more young Americans in our democracy.” More here.