Millennials are often reported as having the lowest voter turnout amongst any demographic; as The Center for Information a Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University reported, only 19.9 percent of millennials voted in the 2014 elections. Though others are quick to brush them aside as apathetic, young Americans are incredibly politically active - studies have shown that millennials are more likely to protest, engage in online activism, and speak with their representatives about issues important to them. However, they still are not showing up at the polls. In many states, the lack of millennial voters is not simply indifference, but rather harsh voting laws designed to keep specific demographics out of the polls. Here are six restrictive voter registration laws that might keep millennials away from the polls:
1. Nine states, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and Wisconsin have strict voter-ID laws which require a specific photo ID in order to vote. Constituents often need to provide a birth certificate to get the ID they need if they do not already have one. College students with no permanent address, people who do not drive, and low income voters often find themselves without a qualifying ID, or they are unable to pay the fees needed to obtain a birth certificate and create an ID, may be unable to vote.
2. Beginning in the summer of 2016, it will be a felony to collect and turn in someone else’s mail-in ballot in Arizona, even if you have their permission. This creates a problem for student voters, voters with disabilities, and voters who might simply be too busy to turn in their ballots themselves.
3. North Carolina ended same day registration, reduced the time frame for early registration, stopped allowing 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and declared that votes cast in the wrong precinct would not be counted towards the election, all in one year. Many constituents are discontent with the new laws allegedly put in place to prevent voter fraud, because studies such as that of researcher Justin Levitt’s, which found only 30 credible cases of voter fraud in over 1 billion votes cast in the US.
4. While previous law in Illinois gave constituents seven days to submit their voter registration forms, new laws were enacted in 2011 limiting the amount of time voters could turn in their registration forms. Materials are required to be turned in within two days if by first class mail or personally delivered within seven days.
5. In Texas, voters can bring a firearm licence as proof of identification, but not a student ID. As White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a NewsroomU press briefing, “[These laws] are more aimed at limiting the votes from younger demographics rather than preventing voter fraud.”
6. If a Tennessee state official feels as though a person might be a non-citizen, then the person is required to submit proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. As a result of this and another law requiring voters to show ID, voter registration among 19 to 23-year-olds in Tennessee has decreased by 1.2 percentage points, more than other demographics.
Voting Block? 6 Reasons Some May Skip the Polls