ORONO, Maine — Students from around the state encouraged other young people to register to vote Tuesday.
September 24 is National Voter Registration Day, and at University of Maine Orono, a particular group of young volunteers were eager to spark excitement about voting rights among fellow students.
Members of UMaine UVote worked with the national nonpartisan Campus Election Engagement Project, which is designed to increase the number of young people who can fill out a ballot when elections arrive.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that during the 2018 primary election in November, about 40.1 percent of men and women ages 18 to 24 were registered to vote. That number increased to 65.7 percent for young people with a bachelor's degree.
Abigail Despres, a student organizer for UMaine UVote, said she wants to see more people registered because she thinks voting is important to maintain bipartisanship.
"I think that at the end of the day, it is really important for people from all parties to come together because dissent has always been a crucial part of democracy," Despres told NEWS CENTER Maine. "It's vital that we have people that come from different backgrounds, different experiences and align themselves with different groups because of those things, so that we get all of the details and a full comprehensive plan."
Volunteer Liam Kent expressed his anticipation to register as many students as possible Tuesday.
"Why it's important to have kids voting is because they are a key part of any electorate map," Kent says. "You want to make sure everyone has a voice, and being able to have young people voting further enables not only the older part of the electorate but every single other person in the entire state."
Volunteers for UMaine UVote said that a preliminary count Tuesday night showed about 100 students registered to vote via their efforts.
The next election is the 2020 presidential election, which will take place on Tuesday, November 3 next year.
This story has been updated to reflect the total number of students who registered to vote Tuesday were around 100 instead of 150. UMaine UVote is not part of a national nonpartisan group, but the Campus Election Engagement Project is.