The College Student Guide to Voting

September 22, 2015 isn’t just the official last day of summer (noooooo!!!) – it’s actually National Voter Registration Day! If you recently moved or just turned eighteen, it’s time to register to vote. For a lot of students, however, voting doesn’t seem to hold any appeal anyway. Reasons run from “I’m not interested in politics” to “I don’t want to be involved” to “What difference does it make anyway?” Well, it can make a lot of difference and we’re here to give you a quick, no-nonsense guide to help you get started!

We’re not asking you to go door-to-door in support of your candidate (unless, of course, you want to), but it’s definitely important to take advantage of your right to vote.

Why Should I Vote?

Did you know, only 41% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the 2012 presidential election? Less than half!! Voting gives regular citizens a voice when it comes to what goes on in our country. So be sure to take the opportunity to do so. Research each candidate – what they stand for, their background, and their positions on a variety of issues. Student loans and higher education are often hot topics – so be informed. What you have to say is important!


How Do I Register to Vote?

Unless you’re already registered in your hometown and are able to return there on election day, you must register where you live now. Check out the official USA Gov. site to get a better idea of how and where you can do it. It’s often as simple as filling out a form online! Remember, each state has its own rules – so to find out how you can register to vote in your own state, check on the website above.

What is Absentee Voting?

An Absentee Ballot allows you to vote before the election if you are away from home during that time —this option is perfect for students who go to school out of state or are unable to make it home to vote on Election Day! You can get an absentee ballot by contacting your local government election department or your state/territorial election office. Find out more information here!

If you go to school outside the US, you should also contact your state/territorial election office and get information online from the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

How Do I Vote in the Primaries?

When it comes time to voting in the primaries for the upcoming presidential election, you can visit this page to figure out everything you need to know for your state. The primaries may not be the presidential election, but they are just as (if not more) important. After all, they decide who the presidential candidates will be.

Who Do I Vote For?

We can’t tell you that! This is one of those good, old-fashioned find-it-out-for-yourself scenarios. However, we can give you some tips for getting closer to your ultimate decision. It all comes down to one word – research.

Smart news consumption is a great way to get started. It’s important to be well-educated regarding each candidate as well as on each issue. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to watch and read news from a variety of news sources (TV networks, newspapers, magazines, etc.) so that you get a full picture. Well-rounded and thorough research is ideal – after all, you’ll be giving your precious vote to this person! Check out Google News – it’s a great place to get a variety of information, since it pulls in articles and videos from all different Internet sources. Voting does take effort, but it’s important to pick who YOU believe will benefit this country the most.


Written by Guest Blogger, Dan H. of Emerson College


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