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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 and vote is more important than ever. So, how can you do it?

Your vote counts. UMD‘s Initiative “Terps Vote” is the place to go for all things voting-related for Terps. They offer a variety of information from registering to vote to where to vote on election day, including information for students who are residents of Maryland, as well as those out of state. Terps who are residents of Maryland and are not already registered to vote should start here. For out-of-state students, they should refer to vote for tips on how to register for their state.

If you prefer to fill out the form in person, there are more places than you think to grab one. It’s available for download or available at any County Supervisor of Elections (Prince George’s County for UMD), and other public locations. Any registered Maryland voter can fill out an absentee ballot and vote by mail. To request an absentee ballot, you can verify your registration. If you would like to change your address and register as a voter in Prince George’s County, then it is the same process as registering to vote. All you need to do is change the address section to your current College Park address. Read through everything carefully to make sure the forms are correct to ensure that your vote is counted!

UMD is in Prince George’s County so if you are registered to vote in College Park, there really is not much to do. 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 to vote in College Park. The vote by mail ballot allows voters to receive their ballot by mail instead of having to go to the polls and vote in person. There is a deadline to request an absentee ballot, so this is an option for anyone looking to take care of their vote ahead of time.

These are the 2020 deadlines for requesting and sending in absentee ballots in the state of Maryland, 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. Absentee ballots can be requested on the county Supervisor of Elections website, in writing, by telephone, or in-person to the Supervisor of Elections.

Early voting is also an option for college students. Many counties open up early voting locations so if your student will be home during this period of time, they can cast their vote there. For students registered in Prince George’s County, there are several early voting sites. UMD has polling options on campus. Students can vote at Stamp Student Union and Ritchie Coliseum, and polling booths are open from 7 am to 8 pm on Election Day. All I had to do was bring my ID and I was ready to go. UMD promotes their voting options closer to the election dates, but they always have options on campus. They make it very easy for students to exercise their right to vote!

If your student is studying abroad, they should request their absentee ballot several months in advance for assistance in requesting that information for Maryland. For those residing in another state, use the usa.gov website To register to vote or update your information in Maryland. And, for county-specific election information, we have all of the counties so you can access each Maryland County’s Board of Elections.

For students who are interested in taking their political affiliation a step further, consider one of the many clubs and associations that UMD 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.

“UMD College Democrats” and “UMD College Republicans” are both two very popular political party clubs associated with UMD that are acknowledged for their promotion of relations with their associated political parties. They provide voter registrations details to students, internships, conferences, campaign experience, and training workshops. So, whether you are looking for tips on how to register as a student voter or how to prepare for your future Presidential campaign – UMD’s associations and organizations have you covered!

If you want to sport a VOTE necklace, you can purchase one from BYCHARI which is expensive, have a custom one done on Etsy, or look at the one sold through Uncommon Goods.

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2020-10-07T12:42:16-04:000 Comments

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