A student at the University of Arizona created a petition to make election day a campus wide holiday. The petition, called UAVotes, was created by Max Goodman, a politics, philosophy, economics and law major.
“With the recent efforts to limit mail-in voting, it is even more important that we are guaranteed adequate time to cast our ballots and make our voice heard,” Goodman explained in the petition.
Goodman came up with this idea because there aren’t many young voters; Tufts University found that less than 50% of college students voted in 2016. His hope is that if election day is a campus holiday, students won’t have to choose between school, earning income or voting.
“The price that we pay for living in a country where we are able to basically run the country through the people is that we actually take a stake in doing so, that is what separates us from being in an authoritarian regime versus a democracy,” Goodman said.
Goodman started UAVotes because he thinks it’s our foremost duty as citizens to exercise our right to vote.
“I think that’s for a few reasons, I think young people are less likely to have the right kind of voter IDs, I think young people feel generally ignored or they feel like they aren’t informed enough to be able to vote, and they also have to choose between missing a lecture to pass one vote that may seem insignificant,” Goodman explained.
One of Goodman’s goals is that he wants to help break that historic trend of young people not voting.
Goodman’s UAVotes Initiative has an endorsement from state House member Daniel Hernandez here in Tucson. When Hernandez was at the UA, he started a similar movement.
When Hernandez had gotten to the state legislature, he made it mandatory for the universities to give students exemptions from class in order to go vote, and he also made it mandatory that all campuses had polling places, according to Goodman.
"Back when I started at UA in 2010, I was an intern with the Arizona Student Association and I passed a bill that actually started setting a foundation for young people, particularly students at the universities, to have more protections to vote on election day," Hernandez said.
Goodman explained that we have gotten better at making voting easier but that there is still a long way to go.
“We need to shift the incentives away from giving people the option to earn money or go to class versus voting by giving people the day off, so they don’t have to choose,” Goodman said.
Goodman doesn’t have a number of signatures he is aiming for on the petition, he just wants his message to get out there.
“We are really just trying to get the university’s attention to address this issue and we want to make students realize that their voices matter,” Goodman said.
The petition is still in the early stages, but they are planning on reaching out to the Associated Students of the University of Arizona to pass a resolution for them to endorse the movement. Goodman’s goal is to get more signatures to have the receipts to show the University that they have support from the community.
“I just want to really empower people and show them that our voice matters as much as anyone else’s and that we can actually create change in a positive way and address the issues that are important to young people if we all go out and vote,” Goodman stated.
Follow Jillian Bartsch on Twitter