Sept. 22 marks the ninth annual National Voter Registration Day, a nonpartisan civic holiday that celebrates the country’s democracy and involves the collective efforts of thousands of volunteers, nonprofit organizations, businesses, schools, libraries and election officials from all over the country.
According to the Campus Vote Project, Millennials and Generation Z will be the largest share of eligible voters in 2020, but have not been the largest share of the electorate in previous elections due to their low voting rate.
Registering early in September is an important step and sets the stage for student voters to make their voting plans, University of Wisconsin Political Science professor Barry Burden said in an email to The Badger Herald.
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“It is essential for young people to establish the habit of voting, and getting registered is the first step,” Burden said. “The voting process can be mysterious and complicated for first-time voters.”
The 2020 Youth Electoral Significance Index ranks Wisconsin as the state with the highest potential for the youth vote to influence the election outcome.
Burden said he attributes this to the large numbers of youth and the highly competitive partisan balance in the state
UW students can register to vote in the Nov. 3 presidential election at registration events, online, through email or by mailing in their voter verification letter. Once registered to vote, students can request an absentee ballot.
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UW is competing in the Big Ten Voting Challenge, where universities will be competing for “Greatest Overall Turnout” and “Greatest Increase in Voting Rates.” The winning schools will receive trophies.
According to the UW Voter Information website, the Madison City Clerk’s Office held two voter registration events Tuesday — outside Ian’s pizza on State Street from noon to 4 p.m and outside Pres House on Library Mall from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. The Pres House event will take place every Tuesday at the same time until October 13.
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In an email statement to The Badger Herald, the NVRD team said today is important because of historically lower voting rates in younger constituents compared to older citizens.
“This day helps emphasize the importance of voting and the need to register to vote,” the NVRD team said. “Young voters, including students, help maintain our democracy by taking an active role in it — voting is just one example of this.”