“The reasons why people don’t vote can be very complicated," Thomas said. "It might be a matter of inconvenience, and there are some states in this country that make voting very easy for their citizens and others that do not. They need certain identification in order to vote. They have a legal right to vote in their place of domicile and yet that can be inhibited by overly restrictive requirements having to do with identification and so forth.”
Thomas said being an out-of-state student can be a deterrent from voting and provides further inconveniences and forms they must fill out.
Other students, Thomas said, feel their vote will not have an influence.
"They may be very busy," Thomas said. "They may feel they aren’t informed enough. They may feel their vote doesn’t count.”
Additionally, Thomas said that some choose not to partake in the process altogether.
"The number of students who are not into it is declining significantly. At this point, I would point to ease of voting and campus climate as the more important factors,” Thomas said.
While organizations can push to get more college students out to vote, the responsibility also falls on students themselves. Zaneeta Daver, the director of ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, said it's necessary that students feel inspired to vote.
“People need to understand how important their voice is in the political process, and they have to participate," Daver said.
UNC is one of the many colleges ALL IN Democracy is working with. The organization promotes education on matters regarding voting as well as assistance with the registration and voting process. Through its specific targets — registration, education and get-out-the-vote efforts — the organization's mission is to ultimately increase the number of votes cast by UNC students on and off campus.
While there are barriers to voting, eliminating them will not fix the low voter turnout among college students, Daver said. She said it comes down to a lack of motivation.
"It's very complicated and very tricky, and if you don't follow all the procedures or if you find that overwhelming, you're going to decide, 'You know what, this isn't worth my time and my energy and I'm not going to walk myself through this whole process,'" Daver said.