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SEN-01-18 A Bill for VRA Adoption Bill SGA


TITLE: A Bill for VRA Adoption Bill SGA



Hannah Nelsen, The West Area (​​)
Austin Smith, The College of Nursing (​​)
Rohit Srivastava, The College of Arts & Sciences (​​) Cole Tipton, The College of Arts & Sciences (​​)

DATE: 11 September 2018

WHEREAS, ​Amendment XXVI, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States reads, “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age,” and

WHEREAS,​ most, if not all SGA Undergraduate Student Senate members are at least eighteen (18) years of age, and,

WHEREAS,​ in the 2014 midterm election, voter participation at UT was a mere 16% [1], and

WHEREAS,​ the 2014 registration rate at UT was only 64.4% [1], andWHEREAS,​ many students are deterred from registering to vote because of

perceived difficulties and systemic barriers that prevent them from doing so, and

WHEREAS,​ 24% of non-registered young people, in 2004, were not registered because they either did not know how, or simply did not meet the registration deadline [2], and

WHEREAS,​ the ‘Millennial’ and ‘Post-Millennial’ Generations make up the largest eligible voting bloc, but one of the smallest in participation [6], and

WHEREAS,​ requiring SGA USS Senators to provide proof of registration (a voter registration card) will encourage them to be involved members of not only the University, but their respective communities as a whole, and

WHEREAS,​ the Howard Baker Center is now the designated polling location for on-campus addresses, making polls more accessible to students now than ever before, and

WHEREAS,​ the socio-political issues faced by the University of Tennessee tend to originate from changes in local, state, and federal policy such as smoking bans [3], changes in leadership [4], and the status of DACA recipients [5], respectively, and

WHEREAS,​ the Student Government Association was established, in part, to, “organize and mobilize student involvement in seeking solutions to the serious problems facing the community, the nation, and humankind; to promote the recognition of student’s rights and responsibilities to the university, the community, and humanity,” and

WHEREAS,​ Article I – Powers and Duties of the Student Senate, Section 1, Subsection F of the USS Bylaws reads, “To take all actions which shall be necessary and proper for carrying out its functions,”

The 2018-2019 Undergraduate Student Senate hereby amends The Bylaws of the UTK SGA Undergraduate Student Senate, by adopting the​ ​Voter Registration Amendment​ ​and placing it under Article I, Section 1, Subsection F of the USS Bylaws.

The applicability of the​ ​Voter Registration Amendment​ ​to the senate body that passes this bill (The 2018-2019 Undergraduate Student Senate) shall be determined by a vote of 2⁄3 majority following the bill’s passage and subsequent amendment adoption.