By Fiona Hernandez | November 10, 2021
While classes at the University at Albany remained in session for Election Day, some SUNY schools including Binghamton and Purchase canceled classes last Tuesday.
Generation Vote, a political club on campus started a petition to get students to agree that Election Day should be off. “Genvote is an organization dedicated to fighting for youth voting rights across the country,” said Luke Morello, President of GenVote. “Our goal is to get as many young people as possible to the polls and actively participate in democracy.”
Emma Rennard, a member of Generation Vote has always believed that voting is important. “I decided to become a member of GenVote because I was raised always being told and shown how important it was for me to vote,” she said. “When I found a group on campus centered around going out and getting other students interested in voting it was something I wanted to be a part of.”
According to Generation Vote’s Impact Report of 2020, it is hard for younger people to go out and vote. The report says that “Students at Bard College had to sue to get a polling site on their campus for the 2020 election after a decade of intimidation and suppression in Dutchess County.”
UAlbany’s Generation Vote believes that having Election Day off will let students know how important it is to vote in elections. “Election Day off is important due to the fact that it provides students the ability to go out and have their voice be heard as well as have the opportunity to be active in politics,” said Alex Benjamin, Vice President of GenVote. “If we give students the day off it would be able to free up their schedules and provide them with an opportunity to vote.”
Democracy Matters, another political organization at UAlbany, also believes in having Election Day off and strongly advocates that voting supports the changes that will happen in our world.
Abby Evans, the President of Democracy Matters said, “Students need to take their leadership to the ballot box so that the change they are making on college campuses can be reinforced and amplified through government policy. Action on the part of UAlbany’s administration to make Election Day an academic holiday is an assertion that our voices matter.”
Generation Vote is looking to get 300 signatures from students before sending it to President Havidán Rodríguez. Here is the link to the petition: https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/designate-election-day-as-a-university-holiday-at-ualbany