Education + Voter Suppression

The Contribution of Insufficient Education to Voter Suppression

Sophie Conrad

Insufficient education contributes to voter suppression in many different forms, beginning with formal education. Many students in the American education system are not receiving proper civics education, as civics programs within schools are steadily decreasing. Also contributing to this decline in quality education is the standardization of schools, which is shown to decrease voter turnout as well as the mass success of all students. Without proper foundational education, students are less likely to pursue post-secondary education, which is shown to increase voter turnout. Minority students are disproportionately affected by insufficient schooling; schools with high minority populations are underfunded and less advanced. Because of the educational disparities between students of color and White students, the former are less likely to attend college and, therefore, less likely to vote. Another form that education takes in voter suppression is the lack of election information provided to voters. Without adequate election information, voters are faced with confusion when going through the voting process and can be susceptible to misinformation. These obstacles can prevent or bring difficulty to the voting process. Along with voting procedure information, voters must be knowledgeable about election candidates to identify the benefit of voting and make an informed decision. By failing to provide voters with sufficient education, the U.S. education and voting systems contribute to voter suppression. However, improvements in civics literacy, minority education, and the provision of voter information can ameliorate the current contribution of education to voter suppression. 

Sophie is a freshman English and Film & Media Studies major in the South Carolina Honors College. She is in involved in several student activism groups, including Women for Global Empowerment and Girl Up. She is from Greenville, South Carolina and hopes to pursue a career in the field of law.