Our Students Support the For The People Act, and We as Professors, Support Them

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Georgia State University
University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Dear Members of the United States Senate,

As college professors who consider our teaching mission to include preparing the next generation for responsible democratic citizenship, we write to voice our support for the For The People Act (H.R.1 / S.1, hereafter S.1), which will directly benefit the civic education and engagement of young voters. 

In recent years, young voters between the ages of 18 and 30 have demonstrated a higher level of democratic engagement than any generation during their youth in at least a century. In 2020, turnout among young voters (18-29) is estimated to have been 50%, an increase of eleven percentage points since 2016. This brought the gap between the youth turnout rate and the overall national rate to within ten percentage points, the lowest gap ever recorded in the United States.

This trend toward greater participation by youth is beneficial for many reasons. It ensures representation of their views and interests regardless of their party affiliation. It can also have a positive long-term impact on the community as young people develop a civic ethos that can lead to personally and socially responsible behavior. Further, participation by youth becomes a lifelong habit, fosters attachment to democratic institutions, and leads to other forms of responsible civic engagement. Evidence of the latter can be found in trends in youth public service that have coincided with increased youth voting rates. For example, Americans under 30 are running for office and signing up to serve as poll workers in record numbers. All of this bodes well for the future of American democracy. The more that youth see themselves in the democratic political system, the more they will work to preserve it.

Unfortunately, a wave of new state election bills introduced in 2021 threatens to slow and even reverse these positive trends in youth democratic engagement. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 361 state bills were proposed in 2021 that would make the process of voting more difficult. Bills would, for example, make voter registration less convenient, impose strict voter ID requirements, reduce options for early in-person voting, and reduce eligibility and/or opportunities for absentee voting. These types of restrictive policies make it more difficult to vote in general, but obstacles to voting tend to hit young and new voters the hardest.

In stark contrast to these state bills, S.1 would safeguard the ability for young people to vote and would likely promote a continuance of the positive trends in participation noted above.

  • Early and Absentee Voting. S.1’s provisions guaranteeing early voting and no-excuse absentee voting will reduce voting costs and therefore likely increaseturnout across the board, especially among the youth and other relatively low-resourced voters.
  • Voter Registration. Difficulty navigating the process of registering to vote is a leading cause of lower turnout by new voters such as youth, and registrationprocedures are among the greatest sources of difficulty and confusion for voters. Fortunately, much research demonstrates that simplifying the registrationprocess through measures such as same-day voter registration and online registration (both of which would be required under S.1) significantly increasevoter turnout. Indeed, online registration has been shown to be particularly beneficial for the youth vote. 
  • Pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds. Also advantageous are state laws that allow minors to register prior to reaching voting age. Political scientistshave shown that such pre-registration laws increase youth voter turnout when they are eligible to vote.

We thus strongly endorse S.1’s registration modernization provisions, including automatic registration, same-day registration, online registration, pre-registration, and voter registration programming in high schools.

A recent analysis by Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement underscores just how much impact the election law reforms proposed by S.1 could have on youth voter turnout. Looking closely at state election laws across the country, they identified states that already have a majority of the electoral policies proposed by S.1 and states that have only a few of the policies. They found that youth turnout is 53% in states with four or more of the S.1 policies and only 43% in states with fewer than four of the policies.

Today’s young voters need the opportunity to thrive not only now, but throughout their lives, as active participants in American constitutional democracy. S.1 will protect the youth vote and empower young voters to make their voices heard. We, the undersigned faculty, urge the Senate to pass S.1 immediately and promote a healthier democracy now and for the future.


1. Dean, College of Social Sciences Peggy James, University of Wisconsin-Parkside

2. Senior Lecturer Michael Evans, Georgia State University

3. Professor Jennifer Collins, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

4. Associate Professor Laura Lovett, University of Pittsburgh

5. Professor Emeritus Lani Roberts, Oregon State University

6. Professor Chad Alan Goldberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison

7. Assistant Professor Jodi Benenson, University of Nebraska Omaha

8. Professor Liz Roemer, University of Massachusetts Boston

9. Emeritus Professor of Political Sci Theodore Arrington, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

10. Adjunct Faculty Jennifer Cossyleon, Georgetown University

11. Emerita Professor of Public Health Sally Guttmacher, New York University

12. Professor Sara Curran, University of Washington

13. Instructor Amy Eisner, Maryland Institute College of Art

14. Professor Nathan Andersen, Eckerd College

15. Associate Professor Matthew Baggetta, Indiana University

16. Associate Professor Amy Chazkel, Columbia University

17. Professor Emeritus Robert Entenmann, St. Olaf College

18. Davis & Davis Chair in Law Peter Shane, The Ohio State University

19.Associate Professor of Sociology Joan Mandle, Colgate University

20. Associate Professor Andrew Bloeser, Allegheny College

21. Associate Professor Heather Cook, Wagner College

22. Associate Professor Daniel Kreiss, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

23. Professor Natasha Warikoo, Tufts University

24. Professor of Sociology and Religion Paul Lichterman, University of Southern California

25. Professor of History Van Gosse, Franklin & Marshall College

26. Professor and Director Jennie Stephens, Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Areas

27. Professor Marc Becker, Truman State University

28. Associate Professor Mark Axelrod, Michigan State University

29. Professor Melissa Lane, Princeton University

30. Assistant Professor Kate Pride Brown, Georgia Institute of Technology

31. Graduate Instructor Tangier Davis, University of Michigan

32. Associate Professor Joan Maya Mazelis, Rutgers University-Carlton

33. Associate Professor Leena Dallasheh, Humboldt State University

34. Dean Alan Solomont, Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University

35. Professor of Anthropology Celeste Gagnon, Wagner College

36. Professor Rebecca Sager, Loyola Marymount University

37. Professor of Political Science Michael Latner, California Polytechnic State University

38. Associate Professor of Sociology Caroline Lee, Lafayette College

39. Graduate Instructor Jonathan Spiegler, Michigan State University

40. Professor Christopher Witko, Pennsylvania State University

41. Professor Kathleen Knight-Abowitz, Miami University

42. Visiting Professor Robert Brulle, Brown University

43. Dr. Christine Harker, Truman State University

44. Chair and Professor of Sociology Mikaila Arthur, Rhode Island College

45. Associate Professor Arlen Moller, Illinois Institute of Technology

46. Postdoctoral Fellow Sara Chadwick, University of Central Florida

47. Instructor Eliot Parker, University of Mississippi

48. Professor Nancy LoPatin-Lummis, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

49. Senior Lecturer Marshall Ganz, Harvard University

50. Professor Becky Mansfield, Ohio State University

51. Lecturer Sarah James, Harvard University

52. Professor Emeritus Guy Aronoff, Humboldt State University

53. Assistant Professor Na Youn Lee, University of Mississippi

54. Associate Professor Joanna Csete, Columbia University

55. Instructor Jill Dunlap, DePaul University

56. Hull Professor of Feminist Studies Eileen Boris, University of California Santa Barbara

57. Assistant Professor Jamie Levine Daniel, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

58. Professor Barbara Wien, American University

59. Professor of Practice James Scheibel, Hamline University

60. Professor Anne-Marie Nunez, Ohio State University

61. Dr. Margaret Power, Illinois Technical College

62. Professor Emeritus Fred Evans, Duquesne University

63. Associate Professor Charles Hankla, Georgia State University

64. Associate Professor Timothy Shaffer, Kansas State University

65. Associate Professor of Anthropology Wendi Haugh, St. Lawrence University

66. Professor of Public Policy Kristin Goss, Duke University

67. Professor of Political Science Robert Boatright, Clark University

68. Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Amanda Clark, Kent State University

69. Assistant Professor Demetri Morgan, Loyola University Chicago

70. Assistant Professor Crystal Harris, Governors State University

71. Associate Professor Gunther Peck, Duke University

72. Professor Arthur Caplan, New York University School of Medicine

73. Assistant Professor Paasha Mahdavi, University of California-Santa Barbara

74. Assistant Professor Joel Malin, Miami University

75. Associate Professor Robert Glover, University of Maine

76. Professor of Communication Leonard Steinhorn, American University

77. Associate Professor Kim Reimann, Georgia State University

78. Professor Alison McCartney, Towson University

79. Adjunct Lecturer Erin Mysogland, Pace University

80. Research Lead Modernizing Congress Lorelei Kelly, Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University

81. Professor Ron Hayduk, San Francisco State University

82. Assistant Professor Christopher Ojeda, University of Tennessee

83. Professor Emerita Pamela Oliver, University of Wisconsin - Madison

84. Professor Emeritus William Plater, Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

85. Professor Martha Howell, Columbia University

86. Professor Laura Morowitz, Wagner College

87. Professor of History Emerita Mary Nolan, New York University

88. Professor of Philosophy Kevin S. Decker, Eastern Washington University

89. Professor of Political Science Rogers M. Smith, University of Pennsylvania

90. Director Karen Kedrowski, Iowa State University

91. Professor of English Studies Ben Railton, Fitchburg State University

92. Associate Professor Eric Weber, University of Kentucky

93. Resident Assistant Takiesha Mckinney, Governors State University

94. Adjunct Assistant Professor Meredith Sadin, University of California-Berkeley

95. Professor of History Peter Kuznick, American University

96. Professor Estelle Freedman, Stanford University

97. Associate Professor Andrea Benjamin, University of Oklahoma

98. Dr. Leah Horowitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison

99. Vice Chair of Civic Engagement, Carah Whaley, American Political Science Association

100. Associate Professor Giesela Grumback, Governors State University

101. Associate Professor, Stella Rouse, University of Maryland

102. Associate Professor of Sociology Jessica Goodkind, University of New Mexico

103. Director of Impact at the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education Adam Gismondi, Tufts University

104. Professor David Palumbo-Liu, Stanford University

105. Associate Professor Patricia Gott, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

106. Assistant Professor Mark Sentesy, Pennsylvania State University

107. Professor Dara Strolovitch, Princeton University

108. Associate Professor of Political Science Abigail Williamson, Trinity College

109. Professor Emerita Irene Silverblatt, Duke University

110. Associate Dean of Tisch College Peter Levine, Tufts University

111. Professor Rebecca Stephens, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

112. Associate Professor Ernesto Castaneda, American University

113. Professor Emeritus Richard Gunther, Ohio State University

114. Dr./Assoc. Professor Bernadette Ludwig, Wagner College

115. Associate Professor Karen Kurczynski, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

116. Ms. Geri Loizzo

117. Associate Research Professor Elizabeth Matto, Rutgers University

118. Professor of History Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College

119. Professor Ann Hurley, Wagner College

120. Assistant Professor of Political Science Connie Jorgensen, Piedmont Virginia Community College

121. Senior Lecturer Mark Sanders, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

122. Dean and Professor Timothy Eatman, Rutgers University - Newark

123. Professor Todd Swanstrom, University of Missouri–St. Louis

124. Schumann Distinguished Scholar Bill McKibben, Middlebury

125. Associate Professor Peter Trachtenberg, University of Pittsburgh

126. Vilas Distinguished Professor Lewis Friedland, University of Wisconsin-Madison

127. Assistant Professor Jesus Tirado, Auburn University

128. Assistant Professor of Psychology Benjamin Blankenship, James Madison University

129. Professor Jeffrey Kraus, Wagner College

130. Assistant Director Sidiq Soulemana, Wagner College

131. Assistant Professor Erhardt Graeff, Olin College of Engineering

132. Associate Professor David Karpf, George Washington University

133. Associate Professor Jean Beaman, University of California, Santa Barbara

134. Dana Professor of Economics Peter Matthews, Middlebury College

135. Associate Professor Nicole Peterson, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

136. President Emeritus and University Professor Robert Scott, Adelphi University

137. Professor John Saltmarsh, University of Massachusetts Boston

138. Associate Professor Brian McCabe, Georgetown University

139. Instructor Matthew Woodruff, Emory University

140. Adjunct Lecturer Rev. James L. Swarts, State University of New York College at Geneseo

141. Professor Jan Nespor, Ohio State University

142. Associate Professor Rosalyn Negron, University of Massachusetts Boston

143. Cowles Professor Joe Soss, University of Minnesota

144. Associate Professor Benjamin McKean, Ohio State University

145. Assistant Professor of Urban Studies Prentiss Dantzler, Georgia State University

146. Associate Professor Sarah Quinn, University of Washington

147. Professor Matthew Mayhew, Ohio State University

148. Professor of Political Science Suzanne Chod, North Central College

149. Dr. Teri Platt, Clark Atlanta University

150. Assistant Professor of Sociology Michael Rosino, Molloy College

151. Assistant Professor Zachary Wood, Seattle University

152. Professor (emeritus) Rick Doner, Emory University 

153. Professor Carolyn Betensky, University of Rhode Island

154. Director, Human Rights Institute Lauretta Farrell, Kean University

155. Associate Professor Ashley Nickels, Kent State University

156. PhD Candidate Charlotte Hill, University of California Berkeley

157. Professor Emeritus Tracy Lightcap, LaGrange College

158. Professor Cathyann Tully, Wagner College

159. Chair Department of Political Science Soji Akomolafe, Norfolk State University

160. Professor Emeritus of Political Science Barry Ames, University of Pittsburgh

161. Assistant Professor Shannon McGregor, University of North Carolina

162. Associate Professor Jennifer Greenfield, University of Denver

163. Director of Experiential Learning Stephanie Stokamer, Pacific University

164. Professor John Hammond, City University of New York

165. Professor Michael Peshkin, Northwestern University

166. Professor Scott Greer, University of Michigan

167. Professor Emeritus Dick Bennett, University of Arkansas

168. Postdoctoral Fellow Richard Canevez, University of Hawaii at Manoa

169. Assistant Professor Christina Barsky, University of Montana

170. Associate Professor Jennifer Victor, George Mason University

171. Associate Professor Michael Owens, Emory University

172. Associate Professor Sandy Figueroa, Hostos Community College (CUNY)

173. Associate Professor Laura Gawlinski, Loyola University Chicago

174. Professor of History Daniel Mandell, Truman State University

175. Teaching Professor Sarah Stiles, Georgetown University

176. Associate Professor Theresa McCarthy, Wagner College

177. Associate Professor Brian Beabout, The University of New Orleans

178. Clinical Professor Rafael Pelayo, Stanford University

179. Professor Cathy Schneider, American University 

180. Lecturer Linda Degutis, Yale University

181. Assistant Professor of History Mikael Wolfe, Stanford University

182. Redistricting Researcher Peter Miller, Brennan Center for Justice

183. Dean of Arts & Sciences Melissa Michelson, Menlo College

184. Assistant Professor Thessalia Merivaki, Mississippi State University

185. Professor of Political Science Celina Su, City University of New York

186. Professor Robert Cliver, Humboldt State University

187. Associate Professor of Sociology Van Tran, CUNY-Graduate Center

188. Professor Jonathan Petropoulos, Claremont McKenna College

189. Lecturer Jamie Lombardi, Bergen Community College

190. Associate Professor Lisa Torrey, St. Lawrence University

191. Professor Emeritus Joseph Wood, University of Baltimore

192. Professor of Political Science Laurie Rice, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

193. Associate Professor Felicia Steele, College of New Jersey

194. Adjunct Professor Jerise Fogel, Montclair State University

195. Adjunct Instructor Alan Hoffner, Wagner College

196. Distinguished Professor of Sociology Barbara Risman, University of Illinois at Chicago

197. Associate Research Professor Keith Bentele, University of Arizona

198. Dr. Mary Painter, University of Missouri-St. Louis

199. Professor Michele Foster, University of Louisville

200. Graduate Student Emily Libecap, University of Kentucky

201. Dr. Peggy Biga, University of Alabama at Birmingham

202. Mr. Sait Sarr, University of Louisville

203. Professor of Political Science Dewey Clayton, University of Louisville

204. Research Professor of Medicine Joe Feinglass, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

205. Professor Leigh Raymond, Purdue University

206. Associate Professor Mary Thomas, University of Louisville

207. Associate Professor of Public Policy Deondra Rose, Duke University