Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Voter registration: the national picture

Voting is one of the most important civic responsibilities we have as citizens of the United States. This duty is crucial to keep the government for the people and by the people, ensuring that this country is run how its citizens prefer. For the majority of students, the upcoming presidential election will be our first time to exercise our right. Although our schedules are busy, and our heads quite often filled with exam flashcards rather than political platforms, casting an informed ballot to represent our demographic is exceptionally vital. The first step though, is registering to vote.

If there is one thing the government is consistent with, it is making things exceptionally difficult and complicated. The voting registration process is no different, and for the large out-of-state population, the ordeal behind requesting absentee ballots must also be completed to vote in your home state. You can read more about residence legality in Kyle Simpson’s column or this recent article by The Samson Crimson. If you missed The University of Alabama SGA’s voter registration drive on October 27, I hope you find this article useful on deciding how to become an active citizen.

Residents of the state of Alabama can download the Mail-In Voter Registration Form, fill in the information and send it to the county Board of Registrars or in general, the Secretary of State’s office:

Office of the Secretary of State

Elections Division

PO Box 5616

Montgomery, AL 36103

If you wish to turn in your form in-person, you can go to any government agency such as the DMV or even a public library.

Out-of-State Students who do not have much time to take a break from WebAssign or Mastering Chemistry, registering online to vote can be a quick and convenient method – that is if it is available in your state. Here is a list of those states that currently offer online registration to the online voting website: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, The District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia. Florida, New Mexico and Oklahoma have yet to implement their online registration programs, but if you are from one of these three states, I would continue to check as election day approaches.

If online registration is not available in your state, you will want to complete the National Mail Voter Registration Form. There are two main sections to this form, the first being the general section all registering voters must complete, and the second being a state specific section containing individual instructions pertinent to your corresponding state of residence. If you are from New Hampshire, this is only accepted if you are also requesting an absentee voter form, which should not be an issue if you plan to vote while attending school. North Dakota and Wyoming (as well as U.S. territories) do not currently accept the National Mail Voter Registration Form.

Residents of North Dakota do not have to register to vote, but those who wish to vote absentee from their temporary residence in Alabama can request to do so here.

Wyoming residents are told to contact their county clerk for further information regarding absentee voting.

After finally registering to vote, the next step is to become informed. Familiarize yourself with the candidates and their platforms, and if you affiliate with a party, make sure to vote in that party’s primary to voice your opinion for the nomination. Lastly, on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 (or before if you are casting an absentee ballot) make sure to get out and vote.

Sarah Howard is a sophomore majoring in chemistry. Her column runs biweekly.

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