House Republicans chose to omit provisions in their higher education bill that ensured schools made an effort to assist and encourage voter registration at their institutions.
It would nix language requiring that schools request voter registration forms from their state at least 120 days before the voter registration deadline, and send students an “electronic communication” exclusively about voter registration.It also eliminates language specifying schools are required to follow these requirements for general and special federal elections, state gubernatorial elections and elections for chief executives within the state.
Tuft University's National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement found that turnout for student voters increased three percentage points from 2012 to 2016.
“What we’ve been doing so far at colleges and universities has led to success in getting more people to vote so why would we stop now,” [Rep. Raja] Krishnamoorthi told The Hill on Wednesday. “It’s very disappointing to say the least.”
Some were more openly skeptical of Republican motives for the change.
“I think it’s part of the agenda,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who accused Republicans of trying to suppress student turnout.
“If it’s more difficult for young people to know that once they are in a given state, if they are from out of state, that they have the right to register in that state then it’s less people they need to contend with that usually overwhelmingly vote against them,” said Grijalva.