Summary: The Right to Vote at College Campuses Act requires that voting sites be established at larger campuses of public colleges or universities. In addition, where a state offers early or absentee-in-person voting, election jurisdictions would be required to establish early voting locations at colleges or universities as well.
Based on analysis and model legislation from the Fair Elections Center.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “Right to Vote at College Campuses Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The legislature finds that:
1) State laws influence whether young adults vote. In fact, seven out of ten states with the top youth turnout have policies that make it easier to vote.
2) Given that young adults are least likely to own a car and many 18- and 19-year-olds do not even have a driver’s license, it can be very difficult for them to reach early voting and Election Day voting sites.
3) For college students, travel to off-campus voting sites may be further exacerbated by prohibitions on having vehicles at school or outright vehicle bans for freshman and/or sophomores.
4) Barriers also include excluding college or university campuses from hosting polling sites by law, and local elections officials blatantly refusing to allow on-campus voting sites, and moving existing polling places off-campus.
5) Pursuant to federal law, students have the right to vote in their college town if they consider it their primary residence. To facilitate this right to democratic participation, policies should require on-campus polling places wherever there are large numbers of students.
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to encourage democratic participation.
SECTION 3. VOTING AT COLLEGE CAMPUSES
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
(A) DEFINITION—In this section:
OPTION #1: Name specific campuses as in
“Large public university” means [list here the campuses by name as Illinois law does].
OPTION #2: Use an enrollment cut-off
“Large public university” means a campus of a public institution of higher learning where undergraduate and graduate enrollment combined exceeds [5,000] students.
(B) POLLING PLACES
1) Each [Board of Elections] which has a large public university within its jurisdiction shall:
a) Conduct election day voting at the student union on campus, or another on campus location if it is more convenient for students;
b) Conduct early voting [or absentee in-person voting] at the student union on campus, or another on campus location if it is more convenient for students; and
c) To the extent possible, populate on campus voting locations with ballot forms for all legislative and council precincts within [three] miles of campus.
2) Each large public university shall make the necessary space available and coordinate with election authorities and students to make it possible for the [Board of Elections] to comply with this section.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This Act shall take effect on July 1, 20XX.