New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Opinion: NYU Votes needs to take more initiative this election season

The university’s voter engagement program has been notably absent, and needs to be revived this presidential election season.
Samson Tu
A polling site in New York City. (Samson Tu for WSN)

With the presidential primaries currently running their entertaining albeit tedious course, there’s one factor that has noticeably been missing in the eyes of the NYU community throughout this arduous process: NYU Votes. This initiative is the university’s primary source for information on how to vote — as well as one that aims to actively encourage students and faculty to vote. Its absence has been felt this primary season, with the campaign’s last email having been sent in January. So much else has happened since then, and it’s important that NYU Votes take initiative while it still can.

Whether you choose to vote in New York or in your state of residence, NYU Votes aims to guarantee that every eligible member of the NYU community can cast a ballot in person or by mail. The group also urges every NYU student to participate in the process by volunteering, advocating and taking advantage of other engagement opportunities on and off campus. However, it’s been silent this presidential primary season — apart from one email months ago.

This absence must change. The program used to email regularly in the fall of 2022 during the height of the midterm elections, and its Instagram account is nowhere to be found. The initiative, however, was not successful, and failed to get many students to vote. The sooner NYU Votes spreads the message of how to vote as a college student away from home, the more likely it will be that students will be registered, or know how to send in their mail-in ballots. 

Young people are voting less than any other age demographic, with a voter turnout during the 2020 presidential election at 51.4% for 18-24 year olds, compared to 76% for 65-74 year olds. It is crucial for young people to vote more, and the university has the opportunity to assist in this greater movement by educating students through NYU Votes.

Voting is a fundamental civic responsibility for all citizens of the United States. The results of presidential elections have a significant impact on a number of topics that directly affect NYU students, including student loan debt, health care access and climate change. Through on-campus campaigns like NYU Votes, students can actively engage in the electoral process, speak up for what’s important to them and hold elected officials responsible for their actions.

Reviving NYU Votes is a question of equity and social justice, not merely practicality, as it has the power to encourage students and faculty to register to vote. The university can assist in reducing obstacles to participation and guarantee that all students have an equal opportunity to exercise their democratic rights by supporting voter engagement programs like NYU Votes. To do this, NYU Votes must send its newsletters again, use their social media platforms and advertise themselves across campus.

Higher education institutions have a duty to develop knowledgeable and involved citizens in a time of political divisiveness. By increasing the visibility of NYU Votes, NYU has the chance to set an example and demonstrate that it values civic education and student empowerment.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Molly Koch at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Molly Koch
Molly Koch, Opinion Editor
Molly Koch is a junior in Gallatin concentrating in journalism as an art form. They’re fascinated by classical literature and its influence on the power of the written word. When they are not writing, you can find them reading their way through their endless TBR, running along the Hudson or Facetiming their dog.
Samson Tu
Samson Tu, Magazine Managing Editor
Samson Tu is finishing his B.A. degree in politics with a thesis on the state of civil society development in the People's Republic of China. Synthesizing his experience in journalism and training in politics, Samson is going to attend the NYU School of Law after his undergraduate to study intellectual property law. Samson attempts to make sense of Heidegger and Sartre or edits photographs on his 15-hour flight between New York and Taipei. He always prefers the flights to New York. Send an email to [email protected] for ideas about WSN's monthly magazine issues!

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