How to Have Your Vote Count While At College
For students in a new city adapting to a busy college schedule, the voting process can seem daunting. As an 18-year-old freshman, I didn’t even know where to begin to register or where to go to vote! With an election year coming up, taking the time to go to the polls is more important than ever. So, how can you do it?
Your vote counts. IU’s Initiative Student Voting Guide is the place to go for all things voting-related for Hoosiers. They offer a variety of information from registering to vote to where to go on election day, including information for students who are residents of Indiana, as well as those out of state. Hoosiers who are residents of Indiana and are not already registered to vote should start here. For students that have registered out-of-state visit Your Voice, Your Vote to get more information on absentee ballots.
While in college, students have two options to vote. Students can either register to vote with their campus address in Bloomington or their address while not attending IU. If you are eligible to vote from your on-campus address, be sure to include your resident hall address as well as room number while filling out registration forms. Even if you think you are registered, we recommend checking the Indiana Registration System to be sure. In the system, students can also always update their registration as well as confirm that they are registered. Keep in mind that the voter registration deadline is October 5th.
Many students choose to keep their permanent address on their voter registration. Those students registered in a different county will have to travel to the county where they’re registered or request an absentee ballot to have their vote count. College students should consider if the local issues in their registered county are important to them, the ease of getting an absentee ballot, and how important it is to have their vote counted.
An Absentee Ballot, or a “vote by mail” ballot is an option for those who aren’t or don’t want to be registered in Bloomington. The vote by mail ballot allows voters to receive their ballot by mail instead of having to go to the polls in person. There is a deadline of October 22nd to request an absentee ballot, so this is an option for anyone looking to take care of their vote ahead of time. Students must also return the absentee ballot by November 3rd at 6 pm for their vote to be counted.
These are the 2020 deadlines for requesting and sending in absentee ballots in the state of Indiana, make sure you are aware of these deadlines and send yours in, or else the vote won’t count! We did hear of many college students whose absentee ballots did not get counted in the last Presidential election. We do not recommend waiting too long to request an absentee ballot and mail it back. For the November 3rd election, there will also be in-person absentee ballot voting. This will begin on October 6th and it will end on November 2nd at noon.
Early voting is also an option for college students. Many counties open up early voting locations. As long as students are registered voters, they can vote up to 28 days before the election in the county they wish.
For students who are interested in taking their political affiliation a step further, consider one of the many clubs and associations that IU has to offer for those passionate in political affairs. The Student Government Association offers elections that all students are encouraged to vote in. Additionally, there are countless politically-minded organizations all over campus, check out our Get Involved blog for access to these clubs.
Currently, IU is partaking in the Big Ten Voting Challenge. This voting challenge is a competition among all the big ten schools to see who can get the most students to vote. Vote this fall so Indiana University can win and you can help make our community and country an even better place to live!
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