Young people have often been at the forefront of social change. During the Vietnam War, young Americans protested the fact that 18-year-olds were eligible for the military draft, but many could not vote. Their persistence, aided by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, helped lead to the passage of the 26th Amendment in 1971, which lowered the national voting age to 18 and outlawed age discrimination in voting.
Throughout the 50th anniversary of the 26th Amendment, the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition will celebrate the youth vote, while recognizing that the voting barriers facing young people, and particularly college students, have prevented us from fulfilling the full promise of this landmark Amendment.
Student Voting Bill of Rights
Following a record-setting year for youth turnout in 2020, research shows a clear connection between a state’s voting policies and its youth and college student voting rates. As we continue to see increased engagement among young people and college students in our democratic systems, we need to ensure that voting policies are set up to support this critical voting bloc and continue its trend of growing participation.
To achieve this end, Students Learn Students Vote Coalition partners — through the Youth Voting Rights Subcommittee — identified core policy priorities that, if equitably implemented, would ensure every eligible college student and young person can vote under fair, equitable and accessible conditions that welcome them into the democratic process, regardless of their background or location.