College-age Student Voting

The 26th Amendment gave young people the right to vote. Those fighting and dying in Vietnam came home saying if they could wage war they should be allowed to vote.

The issue of students right to vote has risen yet again. When I was in college I wasn’t allowed to vote because I wasn’t a citizen of the town. I had to vote in my home town. I lived thirty miles down the highway but many of my fellow students were hundreds if not thousands of miles from home. Returning to vote wasn’t possible.

Because young people are now a factor to contend with in elections, those in control of elections at all levels are attempting to reduce their influence by various tactics. Their forms of ID are not legal, even though the student has attended the college, lived in and worked in that particular town from the time they arrived. That’s just one example.

In school we teach our young people about the government and how it works to make life better for all our citizens. Yet when they are out in college, they are told they are too young, not experienced enough to know how to vote, should do whatever their parents tell them regarding who to vote for, or are turned away from registration for voter ID because their driver’s license, college ID and other forms of ID don’t match.

Instead of celebrating the fact that young people want to be involved in determining how their government will run, they are discouraged and turned away. We teach our future how to be cynical rather than optimistic. We deny them voice. These are the ones who will run the government when we are too old to. What do you think they’ll remember when they get in that position? The triumph of working for a candidate and seeing their person win graciously or lose with dignity or the defeat of not even getting to participate in the democratic right to vote?

When my grandson turns eighteen, I want him to vote. Or at least have that opportunity even if he chooses not to exercise it. He’s only six. But we might be fighting this issue for years to come so he’ll have that chance.

Look at the majority of young people today. Not those who make the first blurb on the Six O’clock news broadcast, but the ones who make the last two minutes in the ‘feel good’ time. Or look at the 99% of those who are great young adults and will be great citizens. They deserve a chance to have input into how their country is run. We’re only holding it for them. Unless our government leaders are immortal and live forever then we’re gonna be outta here one day and it’s gonna be all theirs anyway. Think about that one!

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