Student senators push for automatic voting

By Samantha Jones Toal

Realizing the 18 to 24 year-old demographic is the lowest demographic to vote, Spencer Haydary, junior in LAS,JT led an Illinois Student Senate resolution that demonstrates support for an automatic voter bill. The bill, currently up for vote in the Illinois General Assembly, aims to improve civic engagement among young people.JT

“Civic engagement is something that’s really important to me, especially with the student population,” Haydary said. “(Automatic voting) empowers our fellow students and removes a layer of the bureaucracy that we work through to get registered to vote, express your opinion, and be civically engaged.”

Essentially, the bill would provide an amendment to the election code that makes it easier for young people to receive voter registration.

“Automatic voter registration means that people are able to be registered when they use services at state agencies; for example, getting your driver’s license,” said Patricia Rodriquez, chair of the student senate’s community and governmental affairs committee.JT

Even though most young people receive their license at 16 years-old, citizens can pre-register to vote, which will then go into effect when they are eligible to vote at 18 years-old.

“It affects students because many come here not registered and automatic voter registration would mean more people are registered when they come to campus,” Rodriquez said.

Jaylin McClinton and Brandon Hudspeth were also leading authors of the resolution.JT

McClinton said that voting is crucial for students because they’re voting for officials that need to represent the interests of higher education.

“It’s a principle and one of our most sacred rights in a democracy,” he said. “Automatic registration is something that will basically knock down more barriers for Illinoisans.”

[email protected]