Excuse us for voting

The University should make it easier for students to vote.

Daily Editorial Board

A proposal at the University of Minnesota Senate would add voting to the list of legitimate excuses for missing class in the University’s Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences policy. Students absent on election days would not be penalized.

The Minnesota Daily Editorial Board strongly supports this proposal. It will make voting easier for students, and an institution like the University that is preparing its students for citizenship should be doing everything in its power to help them be engaged in their community.

This measure is especially important at a time when the state Legislature is trying to make it more difficult for students to vote by amending the state’s constitution to require a state-issued photo ID with a current address to do so.

A critic of the proposal, University Faculty Senate member Chris Cramer, argues that it will have a severe impact on classes that meet once a week. But fall semester already observes the Thanksgiving holiday, which affects once-a-week classes even more than excusing students who are absent for voting would. Surely helping students vote is at least as important as letting them go home to eat turkey and watch football.

When a similar proposal came up in 2008, the Editorial Board quoted then-President Bob Bruininks who had encouraged students to register to vote: “Our country’s tradition of free and fair elections is unparalleled in history and must not be taken for granted.” As we noted at the time, “What professor believes their class more valuable than that tradition?”