2020 U.S. Election: A College Student’s Voter Information Guide

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With tests, homework, essays, and Covid-19 complicating your daily life, attending college in 2020 has already been plenty challenging. Add an election that could fall around midterms and I can completely sympathize if you start to feel overwhelmed by it all.

But this is your future and your voice should be heard on issues that might affect you and those you care about (which could very well be all of humanity :). Voting in the November 2020 election is the best way to make your voice heard on these topics and any topics that concern you. Not voting is giving up your voice!

Issues Driving College Students to Vote (in alphabetical order):

Climate Change

Education and College Affordability

Gender Equality

Healthcare and Coronavirus

Immigration

Inequality and Rising Cost of Living

Jobs and Employment

Net Neutrality

Racism and Racial Inequality

If you’re ready to make a change and want to be heard, but you’re unsure of where to begin, we’ve got you. You’re probably voting for the first time and while we’ve added a lot of information here, it is a pretty simple process for most.

First, Decide Where You Want to Register to Vote:

Before you can do anything you need to be registered to vote, and before you register, as a college student you need to decide whether you will be voting in your home state or your college state. While you can be a resident in both states, you are only allowed to vote in one.

If you choose to register in your college state, you can vote in person or may be able to request a mail-in ballot- please check with the state you choose to register in here.

If you choose to register in your home state, you can vote at your local voting facility (if you’re home) or may be able to request an absentee ballot from your home state and have it sent to you at your address at University. Again, please check with the state you choose to register in here.

Just be aware that voter registration and absentee ballot voting deadlines vary. Check the deadlines for each using the links below.

When choosing which state to register in, students should consider these factors:

  • Availability of early voting
  • Requirements for mail-in voting
  • Available transport to voting polls
  • Convenient nearby voting
  • Campus Issues with Covid-19, the possibility of having to return home.

*Students who are attending college on a scholarship or tuition that requires a residency should check with their financial aid office before registering to vote at home to ensure that voting in another state will not affect your status.

Make Sure You’re Eligible to Vote

Some states have other requirements in addition to being 18 years of age by election day and being a U.S. citizen. Check with your state’s election office or visit the USA.gov voter eligibility page for more information.

Register to Vote ASAP! Hurry!

While National Voter Registration Day was September 22, you still have time to register to vote…though those deadlines are fast approaching in many states (some are October 4th and 5th!)

All voter registration deadlines can be found here. Including online, in-person, and mail-in voter registration deadlines.

Register Online or By Mail

Online voting registration is available for 40 states plus the District of Columbia. See the list of states that are allowing online registration here.

Visit vote.gov to register to vote online or register to vote by mail. This website will guide you on voter registration depending on your state’s rules. You will also be able to join a political party, change your party, or update your name and address information.

Double Check Your Voter Registration Status

To confirm you are registered to vote, search for your voter record here.

Absentee/Mail-In Voting – Get Your Ballot

If you plan on voting by mail or if you are voting from your college state – while still registered in your home state, request your absentee ballot here.

How Do I Vote If I’m Studying Abroad?

The Federal Voting Assistance Program website offers a guide to help students navigate voting abroad.

Research Candidates

Before you decide who you are going to vote for, know where each candidate stands on the issues you care about. Request this information from your state’s office or find non-partisan information on the candidates here. Or do your research :)

Voting Facility 

If you are not voting by mail, locate your proper voting facility and know your voting dates before the election. Contact your city or state office or find your polling place online by selecting the state you are registered to vote in from the drop-down menu here.

Voting ID Requirements

To fight against voter fraud and in-person voter impersonation, states have been increasing identification requirements (though some states require no documents to vote.) Check out this super easy interactive map by the NCSL to see the identification requirement laws for the state you are registered to vote in.

Other Resources for College Students

U.S Election Assistance Commission – Election Day Contact Information by State

Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement

Rutgers RU Voting

Harvard National Youth Poll

 

 

BIGWORDS

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