Letter to the Editor: Recent graduates need to register to vote
Congratulations to the nearly 500 high school graduates from schools in Shenandoah County. Now that they are about to take more responsibility for their future, here is another assignment for them. They should register to vote if they are U.S. citizens, 18 years old, or will become 18 by the next general election. Full requirements are available at the local registrar’s office. The county, state and nation need their participation as elected officials grapple with myriad issues that affect them and others. It is important that they register as soon as possible because there is significant opposition to the student vote.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “America is in the midst of a high-pitched and often highly partisan battle over voting rights. On one side are politicians passing laws and executive actions that would make it harder for many citizens to vote. This started after the 2010 midterm elections, when new state legislative majorities pushed a wave of laws cracking down on voting.”
Our own State Sen. Mark Obenshain is one of the politicians leading the effort in Virginia to make it more difficult, mainly, for students, seniors and minorities to exercise the vote. It is being done under the guise of requiring voter ID, but the real goal is to suppress the vote. It is fortunate for the local electorate that Sen. Obenshain will have an opponent this November, April Moore, who is supportive of expanding access to the ballot for eligible voters.
If graduates plan to remain in the county, voting should not be that difficult. However, if they plan to attend a college or university elsewhere and vote there, they need to become familiar with the voting eligibility requirements for students in that locale. The bottom line: they should register somewhere as soon as feasible and plan to participate in the democratic process. As Nike would say, “Just do it.”
Luther Santiful, Edinburg