The excuses are many: There’s not enough time, not enough parking, logistical problems, and the age-old argument that young people don’t vote.
When U.S. District Judge Mark Walker struck down Florida’s prohibition on early voting on public college and university campuses, he didn’t mince words. The state opinion, he wrote, “reveals a stark pattern of discrimination.”
Just what do the aforementioned excuses by some Elections Supervisors reveal?
Elections supervisors have until Oct. 7 to designate early voting sites for the general election. Judge Walker issued his ruling on July 24. Nearly a month ago. Not enough time? Who are they kidding?
It is often hard to find parking on some of the state’s largest university campuses. However, many students live on campus and do not have cars. Early voting campus sites are intended for them. If members of the public want to drive to a campus to vote, that’s their right. However, if they can’t find a parking spot, it’s easy for them to drive to an early voting site off campus.
In his court opinion, Judge Walker noted that more than a fourth of the people who voted in 2016 were under 30. Young people have been registering to vote in large numbers since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Supervisors of Elections (SOE) and university administrators should be doing everything they can to help them.
What are we teaching our young people when you have to sue to get voting equity? Providing early voting on campus would not only encourage better student participation in the civic process, but would likely ensure that our students become lifelong voters.
League of Women Voters of Florida,