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To: University at Albany President Havidan Rodriguez

Designate Election Day as a University Holiday at UAlbany

The University at Albany must express its devotion to protecting youth voting rights by allowing students to vote, free of the time constraints that come with attending classes. By eliminating this barrier to voting that students face, the University at Albany has the opportunity to increase student voter turnout and therefore amplify its students’ voices. Generation Vote at the University at Albany is calling upon the University’s administration to designate Election Day as a university holiday.

Why is this important?

Problem: There is a lack of youth voter turnout in New York State. For example, in the 2018 midterm election, only 16.4% of youth voters cast a ballot in New York, which compares poorly to the national average of 31% of youth voters. This lack of youth voter turnout leads to young voices being under-represented in national, state, and local politics. With no designated time off for students to vote, they are being forced to balance school, work, and their personal life in order to exercise their right to vote.

Solution: The solution to this problem is to make voting more accessible to the youth population. The University at Albany has an obligation to support this cause, and can do so by designating Election Day as a University Holiday at UAlbany.

Evidence: In 2019, New York amended the Paid Voting Leave Law to allow voters to take up to three hours from work to cast their ballot on Election Day. Although this is an improvement to voting rights in general, no provision currently exists that allows college students time off from class to vote. Other universities across the nation have made voting more accessible to its students by either canceling classes on election day, or permitting students and employees to be excused from class to vote. These methods have proved successful, as these Universities experienced a higher voter turnout among their students.

Conclusion: The University at Albany has the opportunity to lead the charge in promoting youth voting rights in New York State by designating Election Day a University holiday and therefore eliminating a barrier that college students face with voting.

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2022-10-07 12:14:02 -0400

500 signatures reached

2021-03-10 13:15:15 -0500

100 signatures reached

2021-03-04 16:45:54 -0500

50 signatures reached

2021-03-02 13:07:03 -0500

25 signatures reached

2021-03-01 23:34:45 -0500

10 signatures reached