In October, two more presidential debates will attempt to persuade you to vote in the upcoming election. Figuring out how to vote while away at college, though, can feel like a challenge that is not worth the time. Don’t let complicated paperwork, endless website links and absentee ballots keep you from your rights. As long as you have a U.S. citizenship, you are likely able to vote on Election Day on Nov. 8.
Casting a vote in Binghamton is just as simple as voting at home. The easiest way to register to vote is to visit the Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) in the New University Union, right next to the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. The staff there have been trained to educate students about voter registration and absentee ballot voting. You can also submit your local registration or absentee registration there, even if you live off campus. If you have already voted in a primary election for this cycle, then you are all set to vote again.
The Broome County Board of Elections is also a good resource for general questions about the voting process and information about local candidates.
If you live on campus, you’ll be able to vote in the Mandela Room on Election Day. Otherwise, you’ll be voting off campus near your apartment or house. If you live in U Club or Hayes Community, you will be voting at the Jewish Community Center, and if you live in the city of Binghamton, your location will depend on your address. The Broome County Board of Elections website provides specific locations.
The paper registration form will ask if you want to switch addresses, and then will ask you to provide the address previously linked to your name. If you had previously registered at home and now want to vote here, this is the place to note that. Fill out the necessary information, then sign and date your application and you’re finished. Just mail the form to the address they provide.
If you are averse to registering using the paper forms, you can register through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website if you are a New York resident. Have your social security and New York driver’s license or permit number ready and then click the link that says “Electronic Voter Registration Application.” This link takes you to an application where you can submit your personal information. A ZIP code for the address the DMV has on record for you must also be provided. After filling out the information, you should be registered.
If your address has changed in the last few months but you have stayed in New York state, make sure to update it. To do this quickly, you can visit the DMV website. An address change can also be done by phone, in your local DMV office or by mail. If your address has changed since the primary, you’ll still need to update it in order for you to find your correct polling location.
Federal law allows students who live out of state to have the option to register at home or here at school, whether they live on campus or off. The process for students out of state who want to vote in New York state is the same for New York residents.
If you want to register to vote in your hometown or state, your best bet is to contact your municipal board of elections. They will send you the registration materials and an absentee ballot if you request it.
To cast an absentee ballot, print an application from your state’s DMV or pick one up from the CCE. The request has to be postmarked by Nov. 1 to receive an absentee ballot. Fill out your ballot, mail it and postmark it by Nov. 7. You can also pick up a paper absentee ballot if you apply in person by Nov. 7.