Many college students will be too busy drinking and partying on spring break to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders in March, just as his presidential campaign gears up for a series of crucial Democratic primaries in their states.
More than half a million college students — a key demographic for Sanders — will be on spring break when the presidential primary rolls into their town, according to a Politico analysis. That doesn’t account for students at schools likely to skip the primary if it falls during a pre-spring break week of drinking or a post-spring break week of recovery.
Sanders, who relies on young voters, is set to battle former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for more than half of the Democratic delegates in March, making the timing of spring break a real headache for his campaign. Some of his student supporters are working to warn students about the conflict and educate them about early voting options that are difficult or non-existent in some states.
“Voting early in the primary elections is imperative this season,” reads the UNC Young Democrats Facebook page. “Election Day occurs over spring break and nearly all students will be gone!”
Ohio State and Michigan State are among the many universities and colleges that will shut down the week of their state’s primary for spring break. The University of South Florida will be closed during the Florida primary, along with the University of North Carolina and state schools in all four corners in Illinois during their respective primaries.
Early voting and absentee ballot deadlines are fast-approaching in some states, and casting that vote is often a hassle. Washington requires absentee voters to obtain a signature certifying they need an absentee ballot for a valid reason, such as illness, disability or military service. And in Michigan first-time voters have to physically show ID and request a ballot in person.
“We’re hoping the work we’ve done will help minimize the loss of turnout,” a Sanders organizer at MSU told Politico, regarding efforts to encourage students to use absentee ballots. “But there’s only so much more we can do.”
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