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How to vote in college

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How to vote in college through absentee ballets and more voting details

Sites like and Rock the Vote can be extremely helpful online sources for students as they look to figure out how to vote in college.

First and foremost, they will allow you easy registration options in your state.

These sites will also provide a laundry list of questions and answers for the new voter, like:
  • Will I be able to register in the new state where I go to school?
  • Will I have to change my driver's license if I decide to register in my university town?

At their voting as a student section, Rock the Vote allows the viewer to choose which state they would like to choose. For example, clicking on New York will take you to the Brennan Center for Justice. Their guide will actually assist you in understanding the different state laws which govern both registering and voting.

It will cover facets of:

  • Registration
  • Residency
  • Absentee Voting
  • Identification, and more

You'll see the rules and regulations for each state. Now, it's important to note that as a student you may register wherever you feel is truly your home: whether it be your dorm room, parents' home, apartment off-campus, etc. The Brennan Center will explain the rules and consequences for choosing to cast your ballot in a particular state.

The Absentee Ballot

If you won't be able to get back home for the election and you don't want to cast your ballot in your new university state, it's a simple process of getting your absentee ballot ready., for example, provides a handy guide to the absentee ballot process:
  • A student can check on their site here if they are already registered to vote. If not, one can click the link provided in order to register.
  • From there, the student can click on the Absentee Ballot request site, fill out the information required; one may create an account if they so choose, but it's not a requirement to progress.
  • You'll simply download a form which you can print out at your earliest convenience: print, sign, and then send it to the local Election Office address which they will provide.

It's actually that simple to get an absentee ballot out to you no matter where you are in the country. Sites such as Rock the Vote also offer assistance for those looking to cast their absentee ballot.

Another option would be to go through the Long Distance Voter; one can enter in the state in which they would like to cast their ballot. After clicking on your particular state, you'll be presented with a page full of information.

For example, in California, they'll give you a checklist of items:

  1. Register -- If your signature is on file with the local DMV, you can simply use California's online voter registration form
  2. Verify your voter registration
  3. Make sure you're eligible to let your voice be heard by absentee ballot -- In California, this is a moot point as any registered voter may send in an absentee ballot
  4. Apply for your absentee ballot -- You may click on the California Vote-by-Mail Ballot Application. For even more options, head over to the Long Distance Voter site and scroll down to number 4.
  5. Get your ballot by mail, complete it, and return by mail or in person to your County Elections Official.

Now, the above example took a look at the California process, but you'll be able to input whichever state you want. There will be similar instructions but with slight deviations depending upon state-specific rules and regulations.

Thus, how to vote in college becomes a simple question to answer with so many sites and tools at your disposal. Get up to date on the candidates and issues which affect you; from there, it's a small amount of effort in order to cast your ballot and be one of 51 millions Americans under the age of 30 who can -- quite literally -- make a real difference.


Go College: The Student's Guide to Voting.

Our Time: Homepage.

Rock the Vote: Homepage.

Above photo attributed to Rob Boudon

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