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U.S. House of Representatives
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Washington, DC 20515
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Press Release

August 10, 2012

Rep. Susan Davis Encourages Greater Student Voting Participation

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Susan Davis joined 187 of her colleagues in sending a letter to college and university presidents to urge colleges and universities to take a more active role in educating students in the federal electoral process.
“The future of America will be left in the hands of these young men and women,” said Rep. Davis. “It is critical that they have the information and access to take part in our democratic process.  Colleges pride themselves in providing a broad knowledge to students to improve their lives and civic education should certainly be a part of that.”
The letter describes how students historically have faced unique barriers to the polls that have discouraged participation, or prevented individuals from voting entirely. Students have been challenged by restrictive residency and identification requirements, inconveniently located polling places, and inadequate distribution of voting equipment and false, misleading and sometimes intimidating information have created difficulties for college students trying to exercise their right to vote.
Davis and her colleagues urge the presidents to use state and local election officials to educate students on registration and residency requirements and possibly look at ways to turn campuses into voter registration sites and polling places.
In Congress, Davis has spearheaded a number of bills to reduce barriers to voting and improve the election process.
She introduced the Universal Right To Vote By Mail Act to allow voters in all states to vote by mail for any reason. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia currently allow no-excuse absentee voting and it's very popular there. In the other states, voters must have a specific reason such as age, disability or travel to request an absentee ballot.  In some states, students must hire a notary in order to request an absentee ballot under current law and Davis’s bill would stop that practice.


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