The NYC Votes and CUNY Partnership hope to bridge the gap between awareness and action.
By Pamela Garcia
The voter turnout of young people during elections traditionally tends to be lower amongst college students. An initiative taken by NYC Votes and the City University of New York set to change the practices of the non-voting youth. This progressive partnership is meant to boost voter participation amongst college students.
NYC Votes is a nonpartisan organization operating with the agenda to inform and involve New Yorkers in positive voting practices. This independent agency plays a critical role throughout New York on multiple levels. From providing the candidate with services to assisting them with tracking campaign funds to registering residents to vote via their “Get Out the Vote Campaign.” NYC Votes also has various youth programs such as the “NYC Youth Poet Laureate,” which provides opportunities for young people, between the ages of 16-19 years old, to express themselves.
Through their workshops, and a variety of other student voter registration efforts, CUNY students could benefit from the services NYC Votes provides. Korey Hughes, an assistant professor of Political Science at York College, said she think it is important for college students to vote in every election they can.
“In a state like New York, which is not really competitive at the presidential level, I think it’s especially important for college students to vote in state and local races,” Hughes said.
There are some college individuals who do see that voting is important, many are not running to the polls to cast their ballot. NYC Votes’ efforts with CUNY campuses could potentially increase voting within college students across the spectrum.
“More can be done to bring college students to the ballot,” Hughes said. “Pointing that out, it’s very important to increase voter turnout rates among college students. When I was working at City College years ago there was an organization called NYPIRG that would conduct voter registrations on campus.”
The New York Public Interest Research Group Fund is a nonpartisan organization that aims at amplifying the voice of everyday New Yorkers, to the forefront of political debates and issues impacting policy. This illustrates that CUNY has a history of connecting with organizations to educate and get young people engaged with their college campuses.
“Having more civics education in elementary school and high school could play an important role in creating college student voters,” Hughes noted.
Together, NYC Votes and CUNY hope to bridge the gap between awareness and action. The initiative would propel young voters from being aware of voting to making a difference by taking action and casting their ballot.