By Matthew Percival | October 24, 2022
The University at Albany chapter of Generation Vote is petitioning UAlbany to get Election Day marked as an official holiday, in hopes that more youth voters go to the polls for this year’s midterm elections on Nov. 4.
Stock image of a voter casting their ballot
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Generation Vote is a non-partisan civic action organization that advocates for youth voters to become excited and educated on voting. The UAlbany club is a chapter of the national organization.
The petition was started about two years ago, inspired by discussions held by the national team, where various Generation Vote chapters at universities brought this idea to their administrations. Having the day off is hoped to give students more time to travel to their designated polling place without needing to navigate busy course schedules.
“The University at Albany must express its devotion to protecting youth voting rights by allowing students to vote, free of the time constraints that come with attending classes. By eliminating this barrier to voting that students face, the University at Albany has the opportunity to increase student voter turnout and therefore amplify its students’ voices,” the petition’s description reads.
“It was a part of a larger movement. SUNY Binghamton’s chapter did a similar thing and succeeded in getting the day off,” GenVote UAlbany President Luke Morello said.
A formal proposal was given to the UAlbany Strategic Planning Committee a year-and-a-half ago.
“The club has been emailing the committee regularly, and whenever the committee meets to discuss it, Generation Vote plans to attend,” GenVote UAlbany Secretary Molly Murray said. “There we can show our facts, research, and the petition to convey that students care about this matter. The petition currently has 519 signatures.”
For this year’s elections, the chance of having off is slim.
“It’s always been a long-term goal because the school plans their calendars a couple years in advance, but we knew this going in,” Morello said. “The club is active in the Campus Center, tabling regularly to help students with getting registered and getting absentee ballots.”
“We’re not just here to try to get the day off from school,” Morello said. “We’re here because we care about all aspects of getting young people to vote.”