New report shows millennial and minority voters face huge obstacles at the polls

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New Way of Targeting Millennial Voters

Young people are far likelier to face wait times to vote than their older counterparts, and may find themselves largely locked out of primary voting because of laws limiting participation to a party system that turns millennials off, a new study finds.

New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice teamed up Craig Newmark of craigconnects and Craigslistto survey 1,006 people over the age of 18, and found that millennials face numerous obstacles to voting -- and will continue to without significant reform. The Brennan Center gave Mic an exclusive first look at their analysis.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton Blasts GOP on Voting Rights and Calls for Automatic Voter Registration | Chaos Roils Nevada GOP Caucuses as Voters Overwhelm Election Sites

Put on hold: Millennials and Gen Xers are three to four times more likely to have to wait in line than older voters, such as Baby Boomers, the study found.

New Report Shows Millennial and Minority Voters Face Huge Obstacles at the Polls

Voting wait times are longer for young people and minorities.

Source: craigconnects/Brennan Center/RadCampaign

Why? Lots of reasons.

"Millennials are more likely to bear the brunt of the lack of planning because they're more likely to live in the communities that are underserved in election resources," the Brennan Center's Wendy Weiser said in an interview.

What's more, four times as many African-Americans and six times as many Latinos report waiting 30 or more minutes in line to vote than whites, the new study found.

Overall, when it comes to waits and obstacles, "It's not just minority communities," said Weiser, head of Brennan's Democracy Program. "It's also college communities."

Younger people with less control over their work or study schedules may also be more inclined to register or vote at peak hours, while other groups, such as retirees and people with higher levels of professional autonomy, have more leeway in showing up when lines are shorter.

Not in the mood to party: "One thing that's a big deal this year is how millennials are being shut out of the primaries," Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and craigconnects, said in an email.

"Half register as independents or unaffiliated and that means in almost a dozen states -- and big ones like Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania -- they can't vote in the primaries," he said. "They have no say in who the candidates end up being."

"That's not fair."

New Report Shows Millennial and Minority Voters Face Huge Obstacles at the Polls

Source: craigconnects/Brennan Center/RadCampaign

Voters are given the choice of joining a party when they register. They may enroll with as members of the major parties that largely control the political process -- Democratic or Republican -- or with a wide slate of smaller parties.

But many millennials, fed up with the traditional political system, opt to register as "unaffiliated" or "blank," pledging their allegiance to no single party.

That classification may best describe their feelings of non-partisan independence -- but it also locks them out of primary-round voting in states where for better or worse, participation in the nomination process is limited only to party members.

The numbers aren't small, either. The researchers say 19 million millennials who consider themselves independent rather than party members are unable to vote in key states with closed primaries or caucuses.

New Report Shows Millennial and Minority Voters Face Huge Obstacles at the Polls

Some groups are less likely to be party members or have required ID types.

Source: craigconnects/Brennan Center/RadCampaign

Can we see some ID? The new study also argues that voter ID requirements in certain states mitigate against particular sectors of the electorate, including:

• College students and low-income people or families with no permanent address
• Trans people whose gender identity doesn't match their driver's license
• People who simply don't drive.

People studying at university may face extra barriers to voting, Weiser noted.

"College students actually have a choice of where to vote depending on where they consider their home. They can either vote in their parent community where they came from or in their college -- and I think that's how it should work -- but there are some places [that] have in recent years have made it harder for college students to invoke their option to use their college residence," she said.

When it comes to voting, she said, "College students are treated often differently than other residents that are considered temporary."

New Report Shows Millennial and Minority Voters Face Huge Obstacles at the Polls

Some states have already enacted changes to voting and registration laws.

Source: craigconnects/Brennan Center/RadCampaign

Why not ID? Advocates of voter ID laws insist they're not onerous -- and that participating in American democracy shouldn't require a lower standard of proof of identity than a plethora of common activities.

As Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom, respectively a Harvard professor emeritus and an official of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, pointed out in a Los Angeles Times op-ed:

"You cannot board an airplane, ride an Amtrak train, buy a six-pack of beer or a pack of cigarettes, open a checking account, enter many public and some private office buildings or even attend an NAACP convention without proving that you are who you say you are. You cannot even qualify for means-tested public support programs such as Medicaid without valid identification."

The duo also noted in the same 2012 piece that:

"Over the last four presidential elections, nearly 40% of American citizens eligible to cast a ballot did not bother to do so. It is reasonable to surmise that a high proportion of the people who had not taken the trouble to get a government-issued photo ID may be among that huge group of no-shows. If they weren't going to vote anyway, new ID laws wouldn't affect their behavior."

Fixing it: Newmark and the Brennan Center's scholars suggest what they call some commonsense reforms that would make voting easier and faster for a larger number of people, including millennials.

"It is not too late to put in place, right now, plans so we don't experience these long lines or dramatic disparities," Brennan's Weiser said.

New Report Shows Millennial and Minority Voters Face Huge Obstacles at the Polls

Some reforms will take longer than others to implement.

Source: craigconnects/Brennan Center/RadCampaign

Much of this comes down to money and management -- especially in an election cycle in which candidates like Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump have gotten people fired up about the process of picking a new president, sometimes with tumultuous results.

For example, Weiser said, "We haven't adequately planned for turnout or allocated election resources in a way to ensure that people are not waiting too long."

Elections officials can make sure there are adequate check-in tables, up-to-date voter rolls and enough available translators to assist voters, she said -- especially when more people are expected to show up than in the past, as was the recent case in Nevada and Utah -- and employ established crowd control methods to make sure lines keep moving.

"This is all something we can plan for," she said. "It's not too late to plan for it to [take effect in] 2016."

RELATED: See voters turning out for the South Carolina primary vote:

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New report shows millennial and minority voters face huge obstacles at the polls
NORTH AUGUSTA, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Wade Fulmer, 59, dressed in costume as a Civil War undertaker, registers to vote at the Belvedere First Baptist Church polling precinct after participating in the 151st Civil War reenactment of the Battle of Aiken on February 20, 2016 in North Augusta, South Carolina. A reeanctor since 1969, Fulmer was undecided only 30 minutes before voting. North Augusta, SC on February 20, 2016. Statewide voters will cast ballots today in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary, the 'first in the south.' (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Supporters cheer and hold up placards during the election watch party for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Spartanburg, South Carolina, February 20, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Republican primary voters check in at American Legion Post 7 on February 20, 2016 in Lexington, South Carolina. Today's vote is traditionally known as the 'First in the South' primary. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
WEST COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Republican primary voter Michael Rabun checks in at a polling location at American Legion Post 90 February 20, 2016 in West Columbia, South Carolina. Today's vote is traditionally known as the 'First in the South' primary. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
An electronic voting both stands inside a polling station inside the Family YMCA of Greater Laurens during the South Carolina Republican presidential primary election in Laurens, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. With South Carolina polls closing at 7 p.m., voters will have their say in the Republican presidential contest as Donald Trump, who holds a commanding lead in most South Carolina polls, and five other Republican candidates face off. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Residents vote in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary election at a polling station inside the South Carolina National Guard armory in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. With South Carolina polls closing at 7 p.m., voters will have their say in the Republican presidential contest as Donald Trump, who holds a commanding lead in most South Carolina polls, and five other Republican candidates face off. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A poll volunteer holds a roll of 'I Voted' stickers as residents vote in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary election inside a polling station in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. With South Carolina polls closing at 7 p.m., voters will have their say in the Republican presidential contest as Donald Trump, who holds a commanding lead in most South Carolina polls, and five other Republican candidates face off. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LITTLE MOUNTAIN, SC - FEBRUARY 20: A sign sits in front of a polling station during the Republican presidential primary on February 20, 2016 in Little Mountain, South Carolina. Polls show New York businessman Donald Trump leading his closest rival U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A man holds a Jeb Bush, former Governor Florida and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, campaign sign across the street from a polling station as residents vote in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary election in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. With South Carolina polls closing at 7 p.m., voters will have their say in the Republican presidential contest as Donald Trump, who holds a commanding lead in most South Carolina polls, and five other Republican candidates face off. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CAYCE, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Carl Selander walks out of American Legion Memorial Cayce Post 130 after voting for Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential primary on February 20, 2016 in Cayce, South Carolina. Today's vote is traditionally known as the 'First in the South' primary. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
'I Voted' stickers sit on a table in a polling station inside Our Savior Lutheran Church during the South Carolina Republican presidential primary election in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. With South Carolina polls closing at 7 p.m., voters will have their say in the Republican presidential contest as Donald Trump, who holds a commanding lead in most South Carolina polls, and five other Republican candidates face off. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
DENMARK, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Poll station officials have lunch while waiting for voters at the Denmark Depot polling precinct on February 20, 2016 in Denmark, South Carolina. Statewide voters will cast ballots today in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary, the 'first in the south.' (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Residents vote in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary election at the Sears Shelter in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. With South Carolina polls closing at 7 p.m., voters will have their say in the Republican presidential contest as Donald Trump, who holds a commanding lead in most South Carolina polls, and five other Republican candidates face off. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CHAPIN, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Voters check in at a polling station at Amicks Ferry Fire Station February 20, 2016 in Chapin, South Carolina. Residents of South Carolina picked their candidate in the state Republican primary today. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 20: A voter casts her ballet at a polling station at Hand Middle School February 20, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. Residents of South Carolina picked their candidate in the state Republican primary today. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WEST COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 20: A poster for the South Carolina Republican presidential primary sits on a table at American Legion Post 79 on February 20, 2016 in West Columbia, South Carolina. Today's vote is traditionally known as the 'First in the South' primary. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
WEST COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 20: Corey Threatt, chairman of the West Columbia #3 polling station, waits to assist a voter in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary at American Legion Post 79 on February 20, 2016 in West Columbia, South Carolina. Today's vote is traditionally known as the 'First in the South' primary. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Meggett, SC - FEBRUARY 20: A man and woman walk into the Meggett Town Hall polling station in Meggett, South Carolina on February 20, 2016. Statewide voters will cast ballots today in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary, traditionally known as the 'First in the South' primary. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Voters wait in line for a polling place to open at Eastlan Baptist Church, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
A South Carolina voter cast his ballot to vote in the Republican presidential primary Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Lexington, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A poll worker hands out ballot cards during voting in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
South Carolina voters arrive to vote in the Republican presidential primary Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, at Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Zan Hardin holds her four-year-old daughter, Eleanor, after voting in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
A South Carolina voter arrives to vote in the Republican presidential primary Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in West Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Voters arrive for the South Carolina Republican presidential primary at Forest Lake Park Gym in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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Raising your voice: More broadly, various reform advocates are pushing for online voting -- though that can get complicated -- as well as mail voting, early voting, instant runoffs for close-call elections, same-day voter registration and pre-registration for teenagers approaching voting age, as well as open primaries.

And if knowledge is power, it seems many people lack at least the former. The new craigconnects-Brennan research showed three-quarters "of the U.S. has not been encouraged to participate in their state's primary or caucus" and fully half "of Americans don't know where to go for information" about their state's primary or caucus.

While some reforms will take more work at the legislative level to enact, advocates are clear that some changes can and should be made in time to smooth the path to voting in November's presidential election.

"People really are engaged," Weiser said. "They shouldn't be turned off or turned away."

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