Leesville hosted a voter registration drive September 3-9. This year, however, only those who are 18 or will be 18 by election day can register to vote.
As of August 30, pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds has been eliminated in a controversial bill signed by Governor McCrory. The repeal of the 2009 law allowing pre-registration has received negative reactions from underage Leesville students.
Alexander Magee, a member of Leesville’s Political Club, says the club members did not like the law change and personally feels there is no reason for it.
“As a nation, we face a lot of voter apathy and part of it is because the youth don’t care, but the way to get the youth to care is [to] allow them to [pre]register to vote, and now we can’t do that,” said Magee.
But this didn’t stop those who are eligible from registering. Mrs. Dow, the teacher in charge of the drive, said the drive has been really popular.
“The numbers have been in the hundreds,” said Dow.
As for future registration, Dow says it will be much smaller. The number in the future will most likely only be in the tens.
The decrease in popularity of voting is statewide. The elimination of pre-registration was only part of the passed bill. Future voters will now have to show government-issued photo I.D. to polls and deal with the shortening of early voting. The new bill has also received attention from Washington, D.C. As reported by Raleigh News and Observer , Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, slammed the N.C. law change at a recent local forum, saying, “I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote.”
From the Leesville students to the former Secretary of State, the consensus remains: in order for the nation and state to increase voting popularity, voting needs to cater voters, not those who are currently in office.