Motion Introduced by: University Senate Student and Faculty Policy Committee
Date of First Read: March 30, 2020
Date of Second Read: April 27, 2020
Title of Motion: Resolution Supporting Removing Voting Barriers for Students
Action Requested: The Student-Faculty Policy Committee recommends the approval of this resolution
The United States Constitution’s 26th Amendment says that citizens of the United States who are eighteen years of age or older have the right to vote. According to Faller (2018), of the 51% of Arizona Millennials (born from 1981-1996) who were registered to vote, 30% voted in the 2016 general election. The efforts of the Arizona State University Undergraduate Student Government have had a positive impact on student voter turnout. The data comparing 2014 and 2018 elections, indicates that the number of ASU students registered to vote increased from 47,400 to 69,644 and the number of students who voted also increased from 12,950 to 41,286, respectively. The voting rate increased across all age groups including Millennials attending ASU. Lastly, the various voting methods increased except early voting (see table 1).
Table 1 Types of Voting Methods (See SM7 Agenda for table)
The University Senate Student-Faculty Policy Committee supports the goal of contributing to high student voter turn-out by addressing unforeseen circumstances that will impede the ability of students to vote. Having faculty support the efforts of the student government to increase voter turnout may be an innovative approach to promote students’ right to vote and increase voter turnout in this age group.
WHEREAS, Arizona State University recognizes that ASU student government will implement a plan to increase student voter registration and voting in elections that includes providing students with the following:
- information about on-campus voter registration and voting opportunities for students;
- voter registration materials centrally located on campus and high traffic areas;
- information regarding: (a) voter registration deadlines, and (b) instructions and deadlines for mail in ballots for in state and out-of-state students;
- links on ASU websites that direct students to voter registration websites, including links that explain the voter registration process in detail;
- ASASU requests to county election officials for on-campus polling locations where applicable; and
- ASASU leadership’s actions to coordinate activities aimed at increasing voter registration and election turnout.
WHEREAS, Arizona State University students have on occasion stood in lines for long periods of time to vote, and consequently some were forced to decide whether to leave the polls and not vote in order to attend classes;
WHEREAS, when circumstances occur beyond students’ control, they may choose not to vote in order to avoid penalties imposed by faculty related to missed classes and assignments due on election day;
WHEREAS, faculty acknowledge that students may encounter barriers to voting on election day;
WHEREAS, faculty do not wish to suppress any citizen’s participation in voting, nor do they wish to create barriers to students’ exercising their civic right and responsibility to vote;
WHEREAS, the Arizona State University Senate remains committed to protecting the academic freedoms of faculty and maintaining excellence in teaching, while allowing students to exercise their right to vote;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Arizona State University Senate, representing all faculty members and academic professionals,
- publicly asserts and affirms their support for the intent of the ASASU resolution: “Removing Voting Barriers for Arizona State University Students”;
- urges all faculty to demonstrate support for students’ participation in voting on election day by considering the dates of national elections when planning course calendars and due dates and when considering excused absences, make-up assignments or testing on election days; and
- will actively circulate this resolution to all members of the University community, including students, staff, and faculty.
Faller, M., B. (2018). Morrison Institute for Public Policy Weighs in Whether Low Turnout
In Elections is a Crisis. ASU Now
Institute for Democracy & Higher Education: National Study of Learning, Voting and
Engagement. (2019). 2014 and 2018 report for Arizona State University.