The battle for the most powerful position in America is heating up. You can’t turn on the TV or leave the house without seeing or hearing something about Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. With less than a month left, both parties are rallying their troops to gain as many votes as possible. And did you know college students could greatly influence this election? Or did you realize that there are more than a few issues that college students need to be aware of? If not, you still have plenty of time to research the candidates so you can cast your vote for presidential election 2012!
Register to rock the vote
As a college student, you have the choice of either voting in your “home” state or your school state (if the two are different). If you haven’t looked into this yet, visit the Brennan Center for Justice. Here you can learn about everything from voter registration to early voting periods. Click on your state to get a brief overview or hit the “Click here for full details” button to get in depth information about the state where you plan to rock the vote.
But you better decide soon, as registration deadlines are looming. To find out when your state deadline is, visit Long Distance Voter. The website breaks down registration deadlines and even offers links so you can register online.
Long Distance Voter also provides information about each state’s absentee voting rules and regulations. Having this information may just help you decide which state you want to vote in. For example, in Ohio, any voter can vote by an absentee ballot. In Texas, you need to meet one of the following requirements:
- You are at least 65 years old
- You have a disability
- You will be out of the country on both election day and the entire early in-person voting period
- You are incarcerated
Have proper ID
A hot topic in this election is what forms of identification voters will need in order to cast their ballots. Some states, like Florida and South Dakota require a photo ID. Other states, like New Mexico and New York have a “No Voter ID Law.” Visit the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to find out what form of identification, if any, you will need on Election Day.
Keep in mind that these laws change often. Pennsylvania, for instance, is currently listed as having a “No Voter ID Law”; however, this will change in 2013. Be sure to click on your state to find out about any upcoming changes or restrictions.
Cast your ballot
Do you know which candidate you are voting for? If so, do you know why you are voting this way? An article in the New York Times‘ Education section written by Tanya Abrams on Sept. 25, 2012, titled “Which Presidential Candidate Is Better for College Applicants?” hits on some of the keys issues college students should be aware of in this presidential race. Abrams tackles the following topics:
- The impact federal spending could have on college students
- The federal aid that colleges and universities receive (including the American Opportunity Tax Credit, for-profit colleges and universities and the Dream Act)
- The Pell Grant program
- Rising costs of college education
If you’re still unsure about whether to vote, you should read Douglas Fehlen’s article on Education-Portal.com: “10 Reasons Why College Students Should Vote.” Included in the list of reasons are:
- You can vote on issues that are important to you, such as the environment or foreign policy
- The leaders elected today will impact the future of our country — they appoint Supreme Court Justices and they put policies into place that have a direct affect on forthcoming generations
- Politicians focus on the issues that voters want–and the better the college voter turnout, the more the candidates will focus on higher education
So get yourself registered (if you haven’t) and be ready to voice your opinion on an absentee ballot or in-person. It is your right as an American citizen to help select the leaders of our country. So be sure to cast your vote on or before Nov. 06, 2012 — and let the voice of college students be heard!