Posted By RichC on November 2, 2010
Once upon a time in 2008, there was a great “get out the vote” drive helping young people, less civic minded urban folks and busy college students to register to vote. Democrats in particular canvased college campuses going dorm door to dorm door with the necessary paperwork so that students would be prepared to vote. Many, including my son, were already registered at their home address, but with a little peer pressure signed papers that would enable them to vote near campus rather than request an absentee ballot from home. All seemed good and each student was able to ‘vote’ in the 2008 Presidential election right there near campus; their civil duty complete.
Fast forward to 2010 as these new voters (including my son) prepare once again to vote in another high profile and intense election, particularly in a divided state like Ohio. Unfortunately for many college students who “residence” may have changed, the same 30 day registration push many not have happened. On November 2 the question becomes: “Where am I registered to vote?” Is the same dorm you registered in 2008 your place of residence today … if not, did you re-registered? In fact, are you still at the same college? Many might have assumed your permanent address (parent’s home) is still recognized as your voting address. Think again … unless you vote where you are registered, you won’t be voting today.
Full disclosure: My son Taylor registered to vote in high school, changed his registration during the “get out the vote” push to Akron in 2008 when he was a freshman. He changed schools and is now hundreds of miles from his “voter residence.” When we requested an absentee ballot from “our county” along with his sister’s, only her ballot came back. His request was declared “not edible” because he was registered in a different Ohio county (out of state, he would have been fine … and probably could have voted twice. Hmm … certainly an opening for voter fraud.)
So my advice, and the lesson for those still reading, is to keep your voter registration at your “permanent address” while you are in college. Request an absentee ballot if you are not able to make it home to the polls … and vote in every election.