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Efforts Underway To Register Students To Vote In Las Cruces And Across New Mexico

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NMSU Las Cruces
/
New Mexico News Connection

The pandemic has drastically changed how voter-advocacy groups are getting college students registered to vote. 

Despite the challenges, the New Voter Project plans to get 2,000 students registered across New Mexico.  Efforts were underway this week at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Campus organizer Laney Baehler is helping educate students on how to safely cast a ballot by mail or go to their polling place.  She says students have been consistently enthusiastic.

"We have so many people who have lived through so many experiences and our decision-makers are making decisions for and we need to be part of that discussion."

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The youth vote in American elections always has been elusive, but this year 63-percent of Americans age 18 to 29 say they will "definitely be voting" in the November election. The Harvard Youth Poll shows that number far exceeds the 47-percent who said the same thing ahead of the 2016 election.  The New Voter Project is working on campuses in a dozen states to register students.  New Mexico State University student Mia Tontodonati is helping with the effort.

"I think everyone's kind of just ready to get out there and make the difference that they want to see, since we do make up the biggest group of potential voters."

Young people turning 18 and becoming eligible to vote, including college students, represent the largest, most diverse generation of voters in the country's history. And while traditional on-campus outreach has mostly halted, social media is proving effective in mobilizing young people. About 15 million Americans have turned 18 and become eligible to vote since the 2016 election.