I’d like to introduce Arizona Young Voters Initiative, a nonpartisan non-profit organization dedicated to registering every eligible 18-25 year old in Arizona to vote, and increase participation with get out the vote efforts on election days. Our goal is to register at least 50,000 new voters every year. We are also fighting to make Arizona the 22nd state that has same day / election day registration. We currently have a 30 day deadline, which is the maximum allowed under the constitution by a Supreme Court decision in Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330 (1972).
First – registering 50,000 young voters every year. Arizona does have online registration, which makes it convenient, but not everyone is aware of this. We’re going to visit all the high schools in Arizona every year and speak to all the juniors and seniors and encourage them to register. There are roughly 50,000 high school seniors graduating every year from the public school system, and we are going to reach out to all of them. We have a number of volunteers lined up to lead the talks at the schools, and are assembling a team of volunteers to support them armed with tablet computers to assist with registration. We will also have other initiatives, event booths, flyers, and advertising.
Second – convincing our state legislature to allow us to become a same day / election day registration state. We’ve already has a major victory on this front. A state representative was attempting to restrict voter registration to require 12 months of residence and disallow the use of dorm rooms as permanent addresses. Not only is this unconstitutional, but it’s very much an attempt to suppress young voters.
Here is the text of the changes to our voter registration law he was wanting to add:
NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, THE FOLLOWING MAY NOT BE USED FOR DETERMINING RESIDENCY FOR VOTER REGISTRATION PURPOSES AND ARE DEEMED TO BE EVIDENCE OF A TEMPORARY ADDRESS WITH INTENT TO RETURN TO SOME OTHER PERMANENT ADDRESS:
1. A DORMITORY ADDRESS OR OTHER TEMPORARY COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY ADDRESS.
2. ANY ADDRESS WITHIN THIS STATE AT WHICH THE INDIVIDUAL DOES NOT INTEND TO RESIDE FOR TWELVE MONTHS OF EACH YEAR
We led a campaign to contact the representative and have him back down. While we’re sure he will try again, we want to head him off at the pass, so to speak. Voting is a constitutional right, and the ONLY requirements are that people be US Citizens 18 or older, and not be incarcerated.
We argued with a number of people that were for the bill, claiming that they just wanted to not have students that were only going to live in town for a few years and not full time get involved with local politics. Their arguments ranged from the ageist: “The avg student will Not know even basic issues of the city. Their focus is on studies and what is happening within the school.”, to the nakedly partisan: “But students tend to vote liberal and heavily “D”. In many cases these so called student vote initiatives are thinly disguised attempts to change and flip the vote in very specifically important targeted states, cities, and districts.”
Our motto is “Democracy wins when everyone participates.” If you’re afraid of young people voting, perhaps that’s a sign that your party and policies are out of touch. We’re not going back to the days of only white male landowners being allowed to vote.
Visit https://www.azyoungvoters.org to learn more about our mission.
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Arizona Young Voters Initiative
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