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OPINION: Stores set positive precedent by supporting voter registration across country

Foot Locker celebrated National Voter Registration Day by outfitting 2,000 of its retail stores with temporary voter registration kiosks to boost youth voter turnout. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Stores across the U.S. opened registration kiosks Tuesday to celebrate National Voter Registration Day and encourage youth voter turnout. With over 4 million new eligible voters this year and how these stores’ young demographics can influence the upcoming election, voter turnout is a huge concern this year.

The clothing store Saks Fifth Avenue announced that its flagship store in New York would allow customers to register to vote in store. In addition, 95 Snipes and Puma locations in the U.S. have done the same. Foot Locker, though, has taken this initiative to the next level.

Foot Locker, which is located just five minutes from campus in University Mall, teamed up with Rock the Vote, a nonprofit organization that encourages youths to register to vote, to install temporary voter registration kiosks until Oct. 5 in all of its over 2,000 U.S. stores.

In a press release Sept. 17, Foot Locker CEO Richard Johnson explained that Foot Locker is trying to support youth voter turnout.

“At Foot Locker, our mission is to inspire and empower youth culture, so partnering with Rock the Vote was a natural fit to help educate and amplify the voices of today’s youth,” said Johnson. 

“In a year marked with such uncertainty, amid a pandemic and social unrest, our country’s future … has never been more important.”

The initiative targets Foot Locker’s 18- to 24-year-old customers, a demographic it said makes up over one-fourth of its 11.8 million Instagram followers.

Any USF student can walk into the University Mall Foot Locker location until Oct. 5 to check their voter registration status, register to vote or sign up for election reminders.

According to an 11,000-participant study by the Pew Research Center from August to September, 49 percent of voters believe it will be difficult to vote this year compared to just 15 percent in October 2018.

With tensions on the rise this election cycle, it looks as if voter turnout could be lower than usual. It is good that corporations are trying to support voter turnout during a time when many are expecting voting to be a struggle.

You can register to vote online, visit local and state election offices or a local participating Foot Locker to register in person. Take the first step to make sure that your voice is heard come November.

Nicholas Cousineau is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism.