by Hana Barkowitz
As a politically engaged student at a historically significant school like Kent State University, I know firsthand that the only way to change something broken is to dive in headfirst and get involved in the solution. This can be applied to many different scenarios, but one that is all too relevant is the 2016 election. I know what many of you are thinking: “Another political blog post?” No, wrong. This isn’t about democrats or republicans or independents or libertarians or anything in between. This is about exercising a privilege we are given as American citizens. That’s right folks, I’m talking about VOTING.
Kent State students are known for being strongly opinionated and standing up for what they believe is right. There are many forms of activism students are able to participate in, but one that too many disregard is the basic privilege to vote. It is absolutely vital that, along with social media rants about politics and protesting, we make it a point to register and go to the polls.
Regardless of how you vote, vote. I would highly suggest that everyone skip out on absentee ballots and instead change your registration address to your Kent address. I have found that many people run into too many problems with absentee ballots. To make it easier on yourself, follow some guidelines I’ve given below to learn how to change your registration address.
For my out-of-state friends or those who aren’t registered at all, it’s so easy to change your registration to your dorm or Ohio home. You have a few options as to how to do this. Your first option is to find a student organization that is registering students. I know that most political organizations will help you out with this. Another option is to head over to the Portage County Board of Elections (449 S Meridian St # 101, Ravenna, OH 44266) to fill out a registration form right there.
For my pals out there who are from Ohio originally and already registered in your hometown but want to change your registration address to your new Kent address, you can do that easily online. Just go to the Portage County Board of Elections website and update it, or just click here.
If you’re not completely sure if you’re registered or where you’re registered, click here.
Here are some general tips about registering to vote:
- For anybody living in a dorm or temporary housing, be absolute sure you bring proof of residency when you go to the voting booths. This means a utility bill, a bank statement with your temporary address, a government check or paycheck, or a government document that shows where you live. This is so the workers at the polling location can ensure that you’re a real resident of Kent. If you don’t do this, your vote can be counted as “provisional,” which means it won’t be included in the initial count.
- Register AS SOON as possible. That way, the Board of Elections can verify that your form is complete and correct and you won’t have to be stressed if your registration will be complete in time.
- Answer every single question on the voter registration form and double check that every field is filled out correctly.
- If you live in a dorm, put your dorm name and physical address, not mailing address, to make sure you’re placed in right precinct. This is very important, since the dorms are split into four different precincts.
- The last day you can register to vote is October 11th.
- If the last time you voted was in the 2008 election, you need to register again.
Notice how I mentioned earlier that voting is a privilege, not a right. This is an opinion I hold for various reasons. For one, it can be revoked. Other countries fight every day for the ability to vote, and American citizens are lucky enough to have it handed to us. Also, for my ladies out there, it’s a strange thought to realize that women haven’t even had the ability to vote for a full 100 years. That’s how new it is for us. Women fought really hard to be able to get us to where we are, we should thank them by practicing the capability!
Regardless of your political affiliation, you should vote. I’ve heard many people mention that they don’t know enough about the election to cast an informed vote. There is an easy solution to this problem, take this quiz or this quiz. These are good tools to know with what issues you most align with.
Your VOTE is your VOICE! Make it count.