It’s Time to Vote Feminist!
Feminist Campus’ Vote Feminist campaign is the nation’s only student-led voter education, registration, and mobilization initiative aimed at increasing young women’s voter participation. We have so much at stake at the polls – we are underrepresented at all levels of government, including campus student governments, and the policies we vote on will affect us and women around the world.
Most states’ voter registration deadlines for primary and general elections are a month before the scheduled election. Check out Rock the Vote for updates and answers to any of your voting questions.
Why Our Vote Counts
The mobilization of progressive students has the potential to change the political landscape across the nation. In Virginia – a state once plagued by anti-abortion TRAP laws – the 2014 Attorney General’s race was decided by only eleven votes. As a result, the AG worked with the Governor to prevent the closure of numerous health clinics, thus protecting access to abortion.
Participating and voting in every election – federal, state, county and municipal – is incredibly important. Typically in off-year non-presidential elections, voter turnout is significantly lower. That means those elections are determined by much smaller margins of votes and your participation is even more impactful!
When women increase turnout, our voices become even more powerful. There are 49 million eligible young voters, outnumbering 45 million eligible seniors, 65+. Though young voters comprise of 21% of the eligible voting population in America, turnout has been consistently low. Among women, 18-24-year olds vote less than any other age group. But when we turnout to vote, we influence results!
Women are Underrepresented
Women make up only 23% of the Senate and 19.3% (or 84 members) of the House of Representatives. While women are more than half of the US population, only 20% (107 members) of Congress is made of women. Of state legislatures, women make up only 24.5%. The numbers are clear: there’s still lot of work needed to increase women’s representation, both in Congress and at the state and local levels.
The Gender Gap
Increasing voter participation among young women has the power to transform politics. The measurable difference in the way women and men view issues and vote on those issues is called the gender gap. Since 1980, this often-significant gap in voting patterns has frequently determined the outcome of elections. When examined by class and race, the gender gap disparities become even more pronounced. Black and Latina women, as well as single women, make up the majority of women of the gender gap. For the past nearly forty years, gender gaps have been decisive in numerous congressional and gubernatorial races.
The Higher Education Act of 1965
Colleges and universities have an obligation under federal law to make voter registration and voting available to all students. The federal Higher Education Act of 1965 includes a requirement for all higher education institutions to make a “good faith effort” to provide voter registration forms for all enrolled students. This is a mandate that most colleges and universities don’t live up to. As students you have the right and power to educate your administrators on the existence of the provision and hold them accountable for implementing it!
The institution…will make a good faith effort to distribute a mail voter registration from, requested and received from the State, to each student enrolled in a degree or certificate program and physically in attendance at the institution, and to make such forms widely available to students at the institution.”
This is an ongoing process, but be sure to use the Higher Education Act as the foundation of your plan of action. Your goal is to partner with your administration, student government, and student organizations to fulfill the spirit of this critical federal law and dramatically increase voter registration, education, and turnout on your campus.
Your Vote Counts!
Feminist students need to register, vote, and run for government. Under-representation begins in student governments, so run for office on your campus and #votefeminist in 2018!