Voting is a right that is given to American citizens when they turn 18 years old, and a good portion of that age group is enrolled in college. How many college students are actually registered voters, and how many of the registered actually vote? In the 2016 election, out of 9.7 million enrolled college students, 70.6 percent were registered to vote, and a total of 68.5 percent of college students voted. The amount of college students taking part in elections are rising. So, why should the students of Blackburn vote and become part of the climbing numbers?
On the website study.com, there is a compiled list of “10 Reasons Why College Students Should Vote.” As a registered voter, I learned things that I never really thought about being in college, such as shaping foreign policy and addressing student needs. But how beneficial is it to vote as a college student? Dr. Laura Wiedlocher, professor in leadership, law and public service, gave reasons via email as to why college students should participate in elections. “I believe that voting is our civic duty, right and privilege… exercising your right to vote is a tangible way to express yourself politically,” she said. She also mentioned the fact that voting is our voice to a problem that may be at hand. If we want change, vote for a change; if we like what is happening, vote to keep the same people in office.
The voting process is straightforward. First step to being able to vote is registering. There are a few ways we can register to vote: in person at the DMV or the courthouse, online or by mail. There are also some requirements to register: being an United States citizen; at least 18 years of age by Election Day; must have been a resident of the precinct at least 30 days prior to Election Day; two forms of identification, one showing a residence address.
There are many different ways we can vote:
Grace period vote: individuals may register to vote or change their address from the 27th through the 3rd day prior to an election (only available in the Macoupin County Clerk’s Office).
Provisional voting: voter eligibility is being questioned, so the polling place accepts the vote as a provisional vote. The vote is sealed and locked in a container until an eligibility case is concluded.
Early voting: begins Sept. 27 and ends Nov. 5, the day before Election Day; can be done at the Macoupin County Clerk’s Office.
Another way that college students, and anybody for that matter, can vote without showing up is by an absentee ballot. The vote is mailed to the polling place and must be postmarked by midnight of any mail day and received within 14 days after the election. A ballot can be requested either by mail, online or calling the election office. For more information about voting, how it works and what to do, contact Bailee McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can send you the Macoupin County Voting Guide.