To the Editor,
During this time of local elections and as we look to the upcoming national elections, there is one age demographic that could turn the tides in the political sphere: students! Being that Westfield is the home of an esteemed state university, there are many eligible voters who are not registered to cast their ballot! The youth voter population makes up the majority of eligible voters, yet they make up the smallest percentage of those casting their ballots. This must change!
Joey Garrison, of USA Today, recently published an article about the plummeting of U.S. Voter Registration. “The number of new voters registered across 11 states in April 2020 decreased by 70% compared with April 2016,” Garrison writes. The young adults of America are not educating themselves, and therefore, not participating, during the election process. If this continues, the number of participants in our local and national elections will drastically decrease as the years go on.
I am a student at Westfield State University, and I worked with MASSPIRG in the spring to launch our New Voters Project campaign. I did not know until I joined the organization that I could register to vote with my campus address, making it even easier to cast my ballot and use my voice in a community where I spend most of the year. I am continuing to contribute to my campus through the Student PIRG summer internship program, and plan to launch an even bigger campaign in the fall!
I know there are many other students on campus that want their voices to be heard. Many have expressed their discontent during the Black Lives Matter protests, whether in person or through social media. I want to enhance the way students on my campus use their voice to invoke change in their communities by establishing a MASSPIRG chapter on campus and educating my peers about civic engagement! I know that with the New Voters Project and the tool of StudentVote.org, Westfield State University’s students can be active participants in their local democracy.