Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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National Voter Registration Day: What do students think about voting

Karalyn Kolstad
Presenting a sticker, students encourages each other to vote.

An extremely important holiday slipped by this week. Unfortunately, not one that included gifts from family, candy from neighbors, or tiny plastic eggs hidden by a magical bunny. Nevertheless, National Voter Registration Day is a holiday with a mission. To get people to vote. Starting just over 11 years ago in 2012, this effort to increase voter turnout may have affected elections with the 2020 presidential election attaining the highest turnout since 1900.

However, according to a Pew Research poll, there is still a long way to go. That very election only saw 66% of eligible voters at the polls. That same poll also correlates higher voter turnout with the cycle of presidential and midterm elections with presidential elections seeing up to twenty percentage point increases versus midterm elections. This lack of voter turnout is attributed to a variety of issues from lack of information to the time needed to dedicate to voting.


The United States is almost unique in the world with its voter registration system; only certain states require registration for voting. Unsurprisingly, this leads to many distinctive problems. Larissa Lopez, a first-year international student from Bolivia, and a photographer for The Winonan, where voter registration is unheard of, voiced her opinion on the topic.

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“I honestly think that it’s really dumb for the United States to not just have an ID for voters to go,” Lopez said. “We get a separate ID along with our birth certificate.”


Bolivia runs its elections very differently from the United States. Not only does Bolivia not have voter registration, but many other differences as well. It is mandatory to vote for the Bolivian president with fines and penalties on work for those who do not. Due to this, they recognize election day as a national holiday and have the day off. In addition, each citizen has a period to vote based on their last name and the number on their ID card.


Despite the work of various organizations who support National Voter Registration Day, there is still a lot of work to do on increasing voter turnout. David, a third-year student, highlighted the lack of information on voter registration.


“I do not know much about it, but it has served its purpose. I have voted a couple of times,” David said. “I’m not sure if my voter registration expires and if it does, I don’t know when.”


Lopez expressed some of the same concerns.


“I just know it’s a really complicated process and it can take a while especially for, like, international people,” Lopez said.


An important action potential voters can take is to become informed about voter registration and voting systems in general. There are various organizations that provide information to potential voters like Vote411 who interview candidates and provide information, your state website which can provide information to register or how to vote, and Rock the Vote which helps younger voters register and vote.

Just because National Voter Registration Day has passed does not mean people are barred from registering. Those who wish to register can go through the National Voter Registration Day website or the Minnesota state government website by providing their address and driver’s license information or social security number. It is especially important for college students to register as they represent some of the least registered voters.

Both Wisconsin and Minnesota allow same day voter registration, but those who participate will have to provide Proof of Residence.


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About the Contributors
Casey Kruger
Casey Kruger, News Reporter
Casey Kruger (He/Him) is a news reporter for the Winonan and is in his first year at Winona State University. Kruger is studying political science for a major and English as a minor.
Kruger is also a part of the Model UN club, College Democrats, Tennis Club, and the Gaming Club. He loves reading, writing, and playing the French Horn in the Symphonic Band.
Karalyn Kolstad
Karalyn Kolstad, Photographer
Karalyn Kolstad (she/her/hers) is a photographer for The Winonan. This is Karalyn's first semester with The Winonan. She is a third-year student at Winona State University majoring in Medical Laboratory Science. She is also the secretary of the Biology Club on campus. Outside of school, Karalyn enjoys hanging out with friends and family, watching movies and reading. 

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