Are you registered to vote? Representatives from the Nassau County League of Women Voters partnered with the Hofstra Center for Civic Engagement to hold a two-day voter registration drive inviting all eligible Hofstra students to exercise their right to vote. Students took a few minutes out of their day passing through the Student Center to register to vote in New York State or their home states all over the country. With the Primary Elections for 2016 happening in various states and New York’s approaching, students were eager to vote for the candidate they want to represent them and their political party.
Taking five minutes to fill out a voter registration form seems like a very unremarkable thing to do, but if we look at the larger context of this simple action it is easy to see that we are very lucky to be able to vote. Look back just over fifty years in this country and we see a society that actively barred African Americans from the right to choose their representatives. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African Americans faced violence even just attempting to exercise their right to vote. Fifty years before that, women’s voices were stifled without the vote and they were excluded from leadership in public life until the 19th Amendment was passed. Much of the Hofstra student body would have been denied the right to vote in the past, especially considering that no one under 21 was allowed to vote until 1971!
If we consider all the people in our society and on the Hofstra campus who would have been denied the vote before 2016, it seems especially important that we vote now. Millennials are growing into a stage of greater influence in society as we enter young adulthood. Our votes matter, especially since we are inheriting a society in debt with our own debt to pay and social issues to tackle. Voter turnout among young people is often weaker than that of older Americans, but now is a better time than ever to change that trend. Fortunately, Hofstra students understand the importance of voting because we had so many students coming down to register and so many more who proudly told us they had already registered or voted. The CCE was thrilled with the turnout, we thank everyone who volunteered at the event, and we encourage all Hofstra students to stay engaged in public life by staying up to date on our initiatives to promote active citizenship on campus and in the community.