Student voter turnout too low

Groups are fighting to increase student voting rates at the U.

During midterm election years, student voter turnout rates have been disappointingly low. Heading into this fall’s elections, it will become increasingly important for campaigns to engage students.

Sen. Al Franken’s recent denial to the Minnesota Student Association’s invitation for him to debate on campus was a blow to getting the student voice recognized this election season. Despite this, some campus organizations are still making efforts to rally the student vote.

MSA and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group hope to register 5,000 students before Election Day, the Minnesota Daily reported last week.

With many freshman students changing their addresses for the first time, these voter registration efforts are particularly important.

“More than any segment of the population, young voters are more mobile and less tied to an address,” Doug Chapin, elections administration expert and teaching specialist for the Humphrey School, told the Daily on Sept. 4. “The question of ‘How do I get registered in my jurisdiction?’ can be a barrier.”

While there aren’t any hot-button issues like same-sex marriage or voter ID constitutional amendments on the ballot this year, it’s still crucial for students to become engaged with politics. With rising student debt and tuition rates becoming highly politicized and with campus sexual assault taking the national spotlight, young voters need to make sure their voices are heard.

The efforts by MSA and MPIRG are laudable, and we hope that politicians take note and recognize how important the student voice is in Minnesota.