Hoyer, Brady, Conyers Lead Letter to College and University Presidents on Student Voting Engagement

LETTER SIGNED BY 188 HOUSE DEMOCRATS

For Immediate Release:

August 9, 2012

Contact:

Daniel Reilly, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Ranking Member of the House Administration Committee Robert Brady (PA-01), and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers (MI-14) led a letter sent to college and university presidents to express hope that colleges and universities will take a more active role in educating students in the federal electoral process. The letter was signed by 188 House Democrats, including Hoyer, Brady and Conyers:

“With a crucial election less than three months away, it’s never been more important for young people to make their voices heard,” said Whip Hoyer. “That is why Democrats are reaching out to colleges and universities across the country to make sure that every eligible student voter has the information needed to cast a ballot this November. The right to vote is the most powerful weapon we have in a democracy. Yet with state voting registration laws constantly changing, often students can be left out in the cold. I hope colleges and universities will do their part to help ensure all students can stand up and be counted this November.”

“The 2008 election destroyed any notion that young people are apathetic and disengaged from the political process," said Rep. Brady. "Civic engagement that starts early lasts a lifetime. Every eligible student has a right to cast a ballot, and our institutions of higher learning should be encouraging them to do so. “

"There is no right more fundamental than the right to vote in our democracy, as it is the foundation of all of our other rights," said Rep. Conyers. "It is vital that we all use our power and authority to protect young voters right to vote under the 26th Amendment. This right must not be impeded in any way, shape or form."

Click here or see below for the text of the letter and the full list of Democrats signing the letter:

Dear ___________

We are writing to express our hope that colleges and universities will take a more active role in educating students in the federal electoral process.  While students are expected to come out to the polls to vote in great numbers this year, more can be done to eliminate the potential barriers that students may face in November.  

Historically, students have faced unique barriers to the polls that have discouraged participation, or prevented individuals from voting entirely.  Restrictive residency and identification requirements, inconveniently located polling places, 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.  With state voting registration laws constantly changing, it is increasingly important that students be supplied with complete and correct information about registering to vote and voting.  While we have worked to eliminate these restrictions and obstacles, many remain.  As the leader of an institution for higher education, you are in a unique position to facilitate student participation in the electoral process.

Importantly, student voters are often first time voters.  Studies have shown that if voters cannot register and vote the first time they attempt to exercise this fundamental right, they will be less likely to vote in subsequent elections.  To ensure that all eligible students have an opportunity to vote, we suggest you consider providing voter registration information and voting guides for first year students during their initial registration or orientation.  Facilitating student voting can be done as easily as including the current registration and voting guidelines in your Student Handbook. 

We also suggest that you consider reaching out to local and state election officials to help students with registration and residency requirements.  Local election officials can not only provide you with the necessary materials and resources, but may be able to come to the campus to talk directly with your students about these important issues.  Further, you may wish to look at ways to turn your campus into a voter registration site and polling place.  Long lines have plagued polling locations for years.  By working with your local and state election officials you may be able to decrease the amount of time required to cast a ballot, increase participation, and increase confidence in the voting process.

Educating students and easing voter registration and voting will provide the basis for students to not only participate in the federal electoral process while in college, but also increase the likelihood of civic engagement for the rest of their lives.  Our goal of more voter participation and making sure that every person who wants to vote gets to vote starts with you.  

Sincerely,

 

Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
Robert Brady (PA-01)
John Conyers (MI-14)
Gary Ackerman (NY-05)
Jason Altmire (PA-04)
Robert Andrews (NJ-01)
Joe Baca (CA-43)
Tammy Baldwin (WI-02)
Ron Barber (AZ-02)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Karen Bass (CA-33)
Xavier Becerra (CA-31)
Shelley Berkley (NV-01)
Howard Berman (CA-28)
Timothy Bishop (NY-01)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
Madeleine Bordallo (GU-00)
Dan Boren (OK-02)
Leonard Boswell (IA-03)
Bruce Braley (IA-01)
Corrine Brown (FL-03)
G.K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Lois Capps (CA-23)
Michael Capuano (MA-08)
Russ Carnahan (MO-03)
John Carney (DE-AL)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Kathy Castor (FL-11)
Donna Christensen (VI-00)
Judy Chu (CA-32)
David Cicilline (RI-01)
Hansen Clarke (MI-13)
Yvette Clarke (NY-11)
Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
James Clyburn (SC-06)
Steve Cohen (TN-09)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Jim Costa (CA-20)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Mark Critz (PA-12)
Joseph Crowley (NY-07)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Elijah Cummings (MD-07)
Danny Davis (IL-07)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Peter DeFazio (OR-04)
Diana DeGette (CO-01)
Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
Ted Deutch (FL-19)
Norman Dicks (WA-06)
John Dingell (MI-15)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-25)
Michael Doyle (PA-14)
Donna Edwards (MD-04)
Keith Ellison (MN-05)
Eliot Engel (NY-17)
Anna Eshoo (CA-14)
Eni Faleomavaega (AS-00)
Sam Farr (CA-17)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Bob Filner (CA-51)
Barney Frank (MA-04)
Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
John Garamendi (CA-10)
Charles Gonzalez (TX-20)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-07)
Luis Gutierrez (IL-04)
Janice Hahn (CA-36)
Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01)
Alcee Hastings (FL-23)
Martin Heinrich (MN-01)
Brian Higgins (NY-27)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
Maurice Hinchey (NY-22)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15)
Mazie Hirono (HI-02)
Kathy Hochul (NY-26)
Tim Holden (PA-17)
Rush Holt (NJ-12)
Michael Honda (CA-15)
Steve Israel (NY-02)
Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30)
Hank Johnson (GA-04)
Marcy Kaptur (OH-09)
William Keating (MA-10)
Dale Kildee (MI-05)
Ron Kind (WI-03)
Larry Kissell (NC-08)
Dennis Kucinich (OH-10)
James Langevin (RI-02)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
John Larson (CT-01)
Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Sander Levin (MI-12)
John Lewis  (GA-05)
Dave Loebsack (IA-02)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-16)
Nita Lowey (NY-18)
Ben Lujan (NM-03)
Stephen Lynch (MA-09)
Carolyn Maloney (NY-14)
Edward Markey (MA-07)
Doris Matsui (CA-05)
Carolyn McCarthy (NY-04)
Betty McCollum (MN-04)
Jim McDermott (WA-07)
James McGovern (MA-03)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Jerry McNerney (CA-11)
Gregory Meeks (NY-06)
Michael Michaud (ME-02)
Brad Miller (NC-13)
George Miller (CA-07)
Gwen Moore (WI-04)
James Moran (VA-08)
Chris Murphy (CT-05)
Jerrold Nadler (NY-08)
Grace Napolitano (CA-38)
Richard Neal (MA-02)
Eleanor Holmer Norton (DC-00)
John Olver (MA-01)
Bill Owens (NY-23)
Frank Pallone (NJ-06)
Bill Pascrell (NJ-08)
Ed Pastor (AZ-04)
Nancy Pelosi (CA-08)
Ed Perlmutter (CA-07)
Gary Peters (MI-09)
Pedro Pierluisi (PR-00)
Chellie Pingree (ME-01)
Jared Polis (CO-02)
David Price (NC-04)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)
Charles Rangel (NY-15)
Silvestre Reyes (TX-16)
Laura Richardson (CA-37)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Mike Ross (AR-04)
Steven Rothman (NJ-09)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34)
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Timothy Ryan (OH-17)
Gregorio Sablan (MP-00)
Linda Sanchez (CA-39)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-47)
John Sarbanes (MD-03)
Janice Schakowsky (IL-09)
Adam Schiff (CA-29)
Kurt Schrader (OR-05)
Allyson Schwartz (PA-13)
David Scott (GA-13)
Robert Scott (VA-03)
Jose Serrano (NY-16)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Brad Sherman (CA-27)
Heath Shuler (NC-11)
Albio Sires (NJ-13)
Louise McIntosh Slaughter (NY-28)
Adam Smith (WA-09)
Jackie Speier (CA-12)
Pete Fortney Stark (CA-13)
Betty Sutton (CA-13)
Bennie Thompson (MS-02)
Mike Thompson (CA-01)
John Tierney (MA-06)
Paul Tonko (NY-21)
Edolphus Towns (NY-10)
Nikki Tsongas (MA-05)
Chris Van Hollen (MD-08)
Nydia Velazquez (NY-12)
Peter Visclosky (IN-01)
Timothy Walz (MN-01)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20)
Maxine Waters (CA-35)
Melvin Watt (NC-12)
Henry Waxman (CA-30)
Peter Welch (VT-AL)
Frederica Wilson (FL-17)
Lynn Woolsey (CA-06)
John Yarmuth (KY-03)

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