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Penn State offers on-campus voting registration

Penn State’s University Park Undergraduate Association Elections Commission gives on-campus students peace of mind by giving them the option to register to vote right on campus. Voter registration volunteers on campus then take the completed registration forms to the County Election Office.

Penn State offers on-campus voting registration

By Sierra Dole

Election time is here again. Students certainly have enough on their plate with classes, jobs, internships, and extra-curricular activities. However, there’s one thing they don’t need to stress about: voting.

Penn State’s University Park Undergraduate Association Elections Commission gives on-campus students peace of mind by giving them the option to register to vote right on campus. Voter registration volunteers on campus then take the completed registration forms to the County Election Office.

“In the state of Pennsylvania, students at institutions of higher learning are considered temporary residents at the campus address,” Bradley Middleton (junior, sociology) said. “For that reason, they are eligible to register to vote at their permanent address, back home with their parents, or at their campus address on the local ballot.”

A student’s decision whether to register on-campus or to head home for election day is in no way a light one to make.

According to Middleton, while registering on-campus is convenient for most students, out-of-state students would be precluded from voting for a representative from his/her home district.

“One votes on the ballot for where they are registered,” Middleton said. “This means that anyone registered to vote in State College will be able to cast their vote for PA and national representatives running in the district around State College. This would only be a concern if a student had grown up in, say, Bucks County and wanted to cast a vote for their local representative for Bucks County. They would not have the option to do this on the Centre County ballot.”

Aside from registering to vote, students also have the option to increase their political involvement by joining clubs such as the Penn State College Democrats and the Penn State College Republicans.

According to Drew McGehrin, president of the Penn State College Democrats, joining a political club is a great way to learn more and become more involved in politics.

“We offer an outlet for students with any level of interest in politics to explore and truly get engaged in the political process,” McGehrin said. “Our club is what you make of it depending on your activity. We have opportunities spanning various election-related activities such as canvassing, phone banking, and also voter education opportunities to get students aware of the issues we are facing this November.”

Chris Craddock, (junior, management), said that he believes that the opportunity to register to vote on campus is a great one.

“The state of Georgia mishandled my voter’s application four years ago, so I registered here,” Craddock said.

“[This opportunity] is a good thing,” Craddock said. “Many students are displaced potential voters from other states. I think this simplifies the absentee balloting. Also, some might feel that a vote cast in Pennsylvania holds more importance due to increased electoral votes.”

Voting will take place on November 6, 2012 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. On-campus students will vote in the HUB and off-campus students will vote at one of a number of polling locations.

Students who are unsure of which polling place they should go to should check www.votespa.com.

According to McGehrin, if it is a student’s first time voting at his or her polling location, he or she should bring an identification card, such as a student ID, a driver’s license, or a passport. If the student has voted there before, he or she is not required to bring identification, although they should just to be safe.

“Students comprise a very large chunk of the electorate, and yet year after year we are some of the most under-represented demographics out there,” McGehrin said. “Students have the ability to make an impact on the outcome of the election—but only if they vote.”

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