U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has introduced legislation that would require colleges and universities to send nonpartisan voting information to their students to help them register and request absentee ballots for the November election.
“For the millions of college students who had to abruptly leave campus and still don’t know if they’ll be returning this fall, this pandemic has created enormous uncertainty about where and how they will vote,” Bennet said. “The National Emergency Student Vote Act calls on America’s colleges and universities to fulfill their civic responsibility in this difficult time to help students access the voter registration forms, absentee ballot applications and other resources to cast their ballot.”
The requirement to send information would apply for students who are not located on campus during the pandemic. Institutions may also email students instead.
If an institution is requiring students to remain off campus, it must request absentee ballot applications from the state and distribute them to students. The college or university should also make an effort to inform students about deadlines and voting requirements in their state.
"Much as DMVs have assisted millions of Americans to register to vote, colleges and universities providing voter registration assistance help some of the newest members of our democracy navigate the registration process by meeting them where they are,” said Mike Burns, the director of the Fair Elections Center's Campus Vote Project.