Give us Election Day off

The University could promote civic engagement by cancelling class Nov. 8

A week ago, we published an editorial in which we argued same-day registration in Virginia would ensure more democratic election results by increasing voter turnout rates. Of particular urgency to University students is the issue of voting rates among college-aged voters, a group which votes the least out of all age demographics.

The easiest way for the University to encourage its students to vote would be to cancel classes on Election Day. The more students are exposed to active messages that voting is a University value and a cultural norm, the more inclined they will be to show up Nov. 8.

This would also allow students with heavy class and other commitments on Tuesdays to make it out to the polls and cast a ballot. The closest polling station for students is at University Hall, which requires a significant walk or a bus ride for most people. Students who are less engaged in politics may feel their time is better spent working on assignments for their classes which are on Election Day.

The status quo falls in line with the greater trend of the administration not giving students days off during holidays such as Labor Day. The administration should give more thought into the values it promotes — or doesn’t — in setting aside days off for students.

While voter apathy is a different issue from voter turnout — one that requires more complicated solutions — the University should take an easy step to increasing youth voter numbers by cancelling classes on Election Day.

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