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Voting as a college student

Absentee ballot with mask

With the first 2020 presidential debate in the books, voters are reminded to register for the November election as voter registration deadlines are coming up soon in over a dozen states. 

Despite St. Ambrose University being in Iowa, many students may be casting their ballots elsewhere. College students have the option to register to vote in their home state or in their college state using their campus address. 

There are many resources available on campus for students voting this fall that are looking for more information and assistance.

Adyson McKinney is a junior political science major and Field Organizer with the Iowa Democratic Party.

“I would really recommend using the clubs on campus such as the Young Democrats club and the Young Republicans club,” McKinney said. “Both of those clubs would be able to direct you in the correct area to getting registered to vote on campus and helping you know what all you need to bring to vote and register on campus such as your housing contract, and maybe a piece of mail, and your ID and school ID.”

Students voting in Iowa and Illinois are reminded of the approaching deadlines to register online. Iowans can register until October 24 online and Illinois voters can register until October 18 online. Mail-in registration deadlines are different. Students planning to vote in other home states should check their Secretary of State’s website or vote.org for deadlines.

In addition, this year many voters are requesting absentee ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic and to avoid the anticipated long lines. Each state has different deadlines for requesting an absentee ballot as well.

If you are planning to vote in-person, make sure to check your polling location as many across the country have changed since the primary. 

If you are unsure of who to vote for and are interested in learning more about each candidates’ policies, there are many options available online and with your peers.

Voting stickers
Voting stickers.

“Staying informed on who you are voting for is very important,” McKinney said. “I would recommend just googling their websites and reading up on their policies. See what they are doing on social media. That is very important. How they are connecting with voters is extremely important. Look at their records on voting when they were in politics. Even just talking to your friends and family is super helpful. You can figure out where your views may align with a certain person.”

McKinney not only stressed the importance of voting in the national elections but also the need to partake in voting for local government.

“Voting is super important,” McKinney said. “Not only in national elections like the presidential election and state senate races, but local elections like your mayor and your county supervisor. These people are making laws and policies that affect your daily life. They’re the ones that are voting on whether there’s going to be a new speed trap. These are the people that are helping fund your schools. It is very important that you get someone in office that aligns with your views or at least close enough that you are comfortable. You will never be fully represented if you don’t have your voice heard and voting is the best way to do that.” 

To check your registration status, register to vote, request an absentee ballot and find your polling place visit www.vote.org.