Following decades of decline in youth voting since the 1960s, in its 1998 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, Congress broadened the scope of the act to include, for the first time, a provision on student voting. Congress rightfully saw institutions of higher education as the key to increasing democratic engagement among young people and placed the onus on them to provide voter registration for their students.
Earlier this month, House GOP members introduced their Higher Education Act reauthorization plan, the PROSPER Act. The PROSPER Act would remove key guidelines from the provision on student voting including:
- The timeline when institutions should request voter registration forms from their state in the lead up to an election.
- Clarity on which elections are covered by the provision.
- Definitional language outlining that institutions must send a voter registration-only email to their students. In other words, institutions would be compliant to the amended provision as long as they link to any voter registration material within an electronic transmission that contains other types of content, rendering the voter registration content lost in the shuffle.
Young Invincibles, along with 42 other members of the Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition – a group of nonpartisan organizations dedicated to finding and scaling data-driven approaches to improving democratic engagement among college students by working with campus faculty and administrators – issued the following letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee in support of protecting and expanding the campus voter registration provision.
Please find the letter here..