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Have Your Voice Heard: The College Student’s Guide to Voting

If you think that your vote doesn’t matter, you couldn’t be more wrong. Analyses have shown that the outcome of the 2020 election may well be decided by college voters. In the 2016 election, lower turnouts among college students in swing states had a decisive impact on the overall result, with states such as Michigan flipping by the smallest of margins.

This means that, with the 2020 election looming, having your voice heard is more important than ever before. Getting registered and casting your ballot might sound like a lot of effort, but it’s a straightforward process that will take you no time at all. Here’s everything you need to know about voting in college.

Choose Where You Want to Vote 

The first thing that confuses a lot of college students is figuring out where they should vote. Like many students, you may be studying in a different state to where your permanent (family) address is. This is no problem. You can live in two states, but you need to choose one in which you are registered to vote. This is also the state where you will cast your ballot. Make sure to choose tactically based on how you plan to vote, as your vote might make a bigger difference in one state over another.

Get Registered 

Once you have made your decision, it’s time to register to vote. The process and requirements for doing so may vary from state-to-state, so always check the State Department website for your constituency before registering. For 38 states you can register online in a few minutes at Vote.Gov, while for other states you may need to send a postal application to your nearest election office.

Keep Engaged 

Remember that the election outcome will likely play a huge role in your life post-graduation. Keep engaged and follow the candidates at a state and national level so that you make an informed decision at the voting booth. You can even follow the latest 2020 Democratic nominee betting odds to stay informed on how your preferred candidate is doing, according to the pundits. Elections can seem tiring sometimes, but keeping engaged is vital for democracy.

Check What You’ll Need at the Voting Booth

In many states, you won’t need to bring anything to the voting booth but yourself. However, in recent years some states and counties have introduced voter ID laws, which vary in strictness depending on where you are. All areas with ID laws are required by law to provide detailed information about the requirements online and in the press. You will most likely just need your driver’s license, but check the state department website to see if you need something extra, such as a passport.

Call for Help if You Need to 

If you run into any problems at the ballot box and have trouble casting your vote, help is there for you. Your campus will likely have student election volunteers on-hand to answer any questions you have. If you feel like you are being prevented or hindered from voting, make sure to call the Election Protection Hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE and they will be able to tell you exactly what to do.

2020 is just around the corner, so remember these steps to ensure that your voice is heard and you have a say over your future.

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