Voter Registration Push By NJ College Students [AUDIO]
On Election Day in 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 42% of the nation's youth was not registered to vote. A student group in New Jersey hopes to give that percentage a boost this year.
The group, founded in February 2011, primarily focuses on accessible and affordable education for all New Jersey students.
"What's really important is that we make this a really simple process," said NJUS President Spencer Klein, a senior at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
The non-partisan registration effort features "vote coalitions" at all member campuses, made up of student volunteers who reach out to and work with school organizations.
"That involves going to meetings and registering students to vote. It also involves going into dorms and registering students at their dorm rooms," Klein said.
At nearly all the campuses targeted by the group, NJUS is encouraging students to fill out registration forms that they provide.
Clark said most students are willing to listen and register, once they understand the importance of voting and the power it gives them.
"Students are one of the most underrepresented demographics in the voter pool as of right now," said Klein.
He said that is largely reflected in the policies out of Washington, D.C. lately, such as cuts to direct aid for students and the nearly-enacted doubling of interest rates on Stafford loans.
Klein continued, "A lot of legislators don't feel a need to respond to students' interests. That comes about largely because they don't feel the students are engaging themselves."
At Rutgers alone, more than 1,200 voter registrations have been collected. The school's individual goal is 7,000.
The biggest push from NJUS comes in these final weeks before the registration deadline - Tuesday, October 16.
Currently, NJUS has an estimated 13 member campuses. It is open to all two and four-year public and private higher education institutions in the state.