There’s a misconception floating around out there that millennials neither participate in nor care about voting. But as a millennial and recent college grad, I know that apathy is not the problem: It’s not knowing the how, when and where of voting that gets in the way.
Numbers don’t lie: When provided with accurate and accessible information, millennials show up to vote. And their votes make a difference—more than 60 percent of young voters supported President Obama in both elections, and they have also overwhelmingly voted in favor of marriage equality amendments in states where those measures have passed.
We know that students are ready and willing to vote, but when you’re far from home and voting for the first time, you might need some help getting to the polls. Here at Ms., we want to provide all the necessary tools to get out the student vote on election day!
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First of all, many students are unaware that they can register to vote where they go to school, but registering can be tricky if you’re attending school out of state. Some state governments have passed laws aimed at discouraging students from voting where they attend school. In North Carolina, for example, the state legislature has banned the use of student cards as a form of identification. But know this: You have the right to vote where you go to school. Check out Feminist Campus’ state-by-state voting guide to find out which rules apply where you go to college.
The next step is getting registered—and doing it on time. The good news is, that’s easy! Just head to Rock the Vote—no matter which state you live in—and follow these simple steps:
- Choose the state you where you live/attend college.
- Fill out the form
- Print the form
- Mail to the address printed on the form
- Don’t miss the deadline!
Some states, like Colorado, don’t have pre-registration deadlines, meaning you can walk up to the poll on election day, register and cast your ballot. However, in many states where that’s not the case, the voter registration deadline is tomorrow—Oct. 14—so do your homework right now!
Once you’re registered, it’s important to be prepared on election day. Make sure to:
- Know the issues
- Have a valid ID if your state requires you to produce one at the polling place (driver’s license, U.S. passport, student ID, military ID, work ID, tribal ID, etc.); this may vary by state
- Know the address of the polling place and make sure you can get there
- Set aside time to vote; plan for traffic and know the polling hours
For students who juggle work and school, finding time to vote on election day may be too stressful, but thankfully early voting is an option. Many states allow in-person early voting within a certain timeframe. You can also request an absentee ballot if getting to the polls on election day seems impossible (you’ll receive a ballot in the mail and then you’ll have to send it back). You must be registered to vote before you can request an absentee ballot.
Register today and cast your ballot!
Photo courtesy of Vox Efx licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.