The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) wants to celebrate Constitution Day, coming up on September 17, in a way so that students will be able to better understand why their vote is so important.
Our Constitution day celebrations will focus on the 26th Amendment of the Constitution, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years old. This allowed far more students to have the right to vote and make an impact.
July 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the ratification of this amendment. To celebrate this milestone, on Thursday, September 16, Dr. Meghan Leonard from the Politics and Government Department will give a free presentation, “The 26th Amendment at 50: The Expansion (and Restriction) of Voting Rights for Young Americans.”
Leonard will discuss the 26th Amendment and the importance of it being passed, information on what we know about the youth vote and why they are less likely to turn out to vote, voter suppression, and how students can encourage voting and increase turnout in the younger age groups.
Leonard’s presentation is free and open to everyone. It will take place in the Circus Room at Bone Student Center from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on September 16. No advance registration is required.
CCE is also very excited to partner with Milner Library on a library exhibit featuring the 50th anniversary of the 26th Amendment. The display will be available September 12–18 on the second floor in Milner. It will feature panels about Constitution Day and the constitutional amendments.
The exhibit will also include books, materials, and photos related to youth voting that students can look at to better understand the importance of the holiday.
“We’re so excited to partner with Milner Library on the exhibit,” said Harriett Steinbach, assistant director at CCE. “We have some great archival photos and articles from campus, and Milner staff have pulled together great resources to accompany the display as well. This is a great way to physically show the importance of the student vote.”
Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution, one of the most influential U.S. documents, on September 17, 1787. This document established the government and many of the basic laws and rights for U.S. citizens.
As students (I’m a junior myself), it is so important to be educated on these topics and to appreciate the power we can hold in our country.
If you have any questions regarding any of these events, feel free to contact CCE at (309) 428-1100 or CivicEngagement@IllinoisState.edu.