Register to vote in the state of your college to be an active citizen

Davida Harris and Sarah Finklestein

Legally buying a lottery ticket is all well and good, and being able to go skydiving is even better, but the real importance of an 18th birthday is finally having the opportunity to cast your vote in an election and have your voice heard.  Upon graduating Schreiber, many of us will be attending school in a different state. This leaves seniors with a major decision: whether to register to vote in the state of New York or in the state they are attending college.
As students move to a new home next year, they may find it unsettling to enter an unfamiliar place.  However, a part of the adjustment is becoming involved in the new community, and what better way to do so than by participating in state elections?  As young members of the community, we should speak out for our interests, since they could otherwise be unrepresented.
If you are voting for candidates you agree with, who share similar values and ideas, then you will see your concerns addressed.
“I want to register to vote in New Hampshire because I want to be an active member of my community.  Since I’m spending four years in this state, I want to be proud to call it my home,” said senior Saige Gitlin.
According to the National Public Radio Station (NPR), Millennial voters, ages 18-35, made up 31% of the total voting bloc in the 2016 presidential election.  Citizens ages 18-29 alone made up 19% of the national voting bloc. This shows that as a young person shaping the future of this country, it is incredibly important to know that your vote does count.
When we begin our college experiences in the fall, there will be countless groups on campus for us to be a part of.  Joining a dance team on campus makes you an active member of your college community, but so does casting a vote in a local election or aiding in a rally to promote the candidate of your choice in the 2020 presidential election.  College students have an important voice, so it is crucial to make yours heard and make it count.
Current high school seniors will be able to take part in the 2020 presidential election. Traditionally, New York has voted democratic, so the benefit of voting in a different state is the impact you can carry in elections.  If a student is attending college in a swing state, their vote could change the outcome of the election.
If you attend a school in a different state and choose to not vote, you will have to fill out an absentee ballot which must be completed and mailed in advance of an election.  However, if you choose to vote in the state of your college, all you need to do is register to vote in that state.
“I think it’s funny how such an important decision can be so simple.  Registering to vote can be done online by filling out a form. I did it in all of five minutes,” said senior Sarah Gottesman.
For most states, you are allowed to use your school address as your place of residence when you register to vote.  This process does not change your driver’s license information or any other legal documentation of where you are from; it only affects where you are casting your vote and for which state your vote will count.
For our senior experience project in May, we will be handing out pamphlets and spreading the word about registering to vote as a college student, both in New York and in other states.  We encourage you to stop by the table in the lobby and get a pamphlet, or to find out more if you have any questions about the process.
As you come of age, make sure you let your voice be heard.