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Voting as a College Student

Being in School Doesn't Have to Mean Not Being Involved

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With so much else to juggle while in college, you may not have thought much about how to vote as a college student. Although the logistics of voting in elections may be slightly different than when you lived at home, the process can still be relatively simple if you know what to do.

I live in one state but go to school in another. Where do I vote?

Where you vote is really up to you, and you'll need to check with your home state or the state your school is in for more details. Note, however, that you can only vote in one state. Check with your home state's Secretary of State's office or website about what the requirements are. Additionally, if you decide to vote in your home state but are living in another state, you'll probably need to vote absentee. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to receive -- and return -- your ballot through the mail.

How do I vote in my hometown election if I'm away at school?

If, say, you live in Hawaii but are in college in New York, chances are you aren't going to be able to head home to vote. You'll need to register as an absentee voter and have your ballot sent to you at school.

How do I vote in the state where my school is?

As long as you've registered to vote in your "new" state, you should get voter materials in the mail that will explain the issues, have candidate statements, and say where your local polling place is. You may very well vote right on your campus. If not, there's a pretty good chance that a lot of students at your school will need to get to the neighborhood polling place on Election Day. Check with your Student Activities or Student Life office to see if they are running shuttles or if there are any carpooling initiatives involved for reaching the polling place. Lastly, if you don't have transportation to your local polling place, see if you can vote by mail.

Where can I get more information on the issues that affect college students?

College students are a critical - and very large - voting constituency who are often at the forefront of political activism. (It's not an accident presidential debates are historically held on college campuses!) Most campuses have programs and events, put on by campus or local political parties and campaigns, that explain different candidates' views on certain issues. For more information, you can also visit some great online resources aimed at younger voters, like Rock the Vote and Project Vote Smart. You can also check out the websites for political parties, which have information in issues, candidates, and initiatives.

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