League of Women Voters holds voter registration drive

By Farrah Fasse and Anneliese Lechner

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On April 29, the Grosse Pointe chapter of the League of Women Voters will be hosting their annual voter registration drive outside the Student Union, the first in-person one since 2019. 

According to the United States Census Bureau, around half of Americans ages 18 through 24 voted in the 2020 election, less than any other age group. LWV Vice President of Voter Services Mary Zahler says that LWV’s voter registration drives aim to increase voter turnout among young people.

“We want to make sure that voters are educated and we want to have as many eligible people voting as we can,” Zahler said. 

On the day of the event, LWV will have members of their organization seated at a table outside of the union. The members will either be deputized by the different Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods city offices, or each city’s clerks will be in attendance to ensure the validity of the voter registrations. Zahler says that students must bring a photo ID in order to register, and that they must be 18 by Election Day.  

Young people not being as concerned with politics and having less time to vote compared to older generations are some of the things that contribute to the lack of voting among the younger generation, according to social studies teacher Dennis Pascoe. ​​Pascoe says that tuning

​​“Pay attention to things that concern [you],” Pascoe said. “If you’re worried about school shootings, then pay attention to what lawmakers back certain measures for gun rights or for gun laws. You have to take a look at how the government impacts you and then kind of investigate from there.”  

We want to make sure that voters are educated and we want to have as many eligible people voting as we can.”

— Mary Zahler, LWV Vice President of Voter Services

                         

Though there are a number of seniors that have not yet registered to vote, senior Maddi Yee turned 18 in December and is registered for the upcoming election. Yee finds that voter participation is important, and says that her family members have taught her that.

“My parents are a big influence on whether or not I should vote,” Yee said. “I definitely feel like they have given me a lot of inspiration and influence on whether or not I should be voting.”

The 2020 election turnout among young voters, though around 15 percentage points less than the overall turnout, was an increase from their 2016 election turnout by 11 percentage points, according to Tufts Tisch College. This trend reflects a greater voter turnout across all demographics over time. In 2020, the overall turnout was around 66%, while data from Pew Research Center says that less than 55% of eligible voters voted in the 1980 election.

Zahler thinks that LWV aims to educate voters, especially young voters, and equip them with resources to learn more about different candidates and political issues. 

“I think that young people have a strong sense of what is right and what to do,” Zahler said. “It’s a civic responsibility and civic principle that we have to vote in this country.”