According to a new report, millennials and minorities are expected to face major challenges at the voting polls this year and for election years to come.
New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice along with Craig Newmark of Craigslist surveyed 1,006 people over the age of 18 and learned that without reform, millennials will continue to experience voting obstacles.
Millennials are reportedly three to four times more likely to have to wait in line compared to older voters because, “Millennials are more likely to bear the brunt of the lack of planning because they're more likely to live in the communities that are underserved in election resources," according to a Brennan Center researcher.
However, this issue is not unique to the millennial generation. The study also found that four times as many African-Americans and six times as many Latinos report waiting in line for 30-plus minutes compared to their white counterparts.
Certain factors that may contribute to these statistics include the fact that college age students and low-income workers don’t have the flexibility within their schedules to register or vote outside of peak hours when the lines are shorter.
Millennials are also being shut out of the primaries essentially for being nonconformists. Newmark noted that, “half register as independents or unaffiliated and that means in almost a dozen states — and big ones like Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania — they can't vote in the primaries.”
"They have no say in who the candidates end up being," he added.
Young voters’ choice not to pledge allegiance to a particular party is actually working against them by silencing their voices. To put things into perspective, researchers say 19 million millennials in key states are shut out of primaries and caucuses because they are registered as independents.
Voter ID requirements serve as another roadblock to voting for young voters, minorities and transgender folks. Certain states' rules place college age students and low-income families at a disadvantage because they have no permanent address.
Other voter ID requirements shut out people who identify as a different gender than what is indicated on their driver’s licenses.
The study suggests some reforms to rectify these disparities including the option of online voting, same-day voter registration and pre-registration for teens approaching voting age, as well as conducting open primaries and expanding early voting.
The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 and his reelection in 2012 showed America how young and minority voters can make a huge impact at the polls.
Millennials can overcome some of these obstacles, such as long lines and voter ID requirements, simply by staying up to date and educated about how their state handles things.
With the threat of Donald Trump becoming president looming over this year’s election, it is now more imperative than ever that Americans of all ages and social identities get real about voting.
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