Important - Our Kids' Right To Vote in 2004!

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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Important - Our Kids' Right To Vote in 2004!
By Tjkernsmom (Tjkernsmom) on Thursday, May 27, 2004 - 09:33 am: Edit

Students Being Denied the Vote at College
Despite a 1979 Supreme Court decision allowing college students to register and vote in their college states, 25 years later, many local election officials across the country are rejecting the voter registration applications of students, claiming that they are not “permanent” residents in the community. But the Supreme Court has already said that this concept of permanent is not relevant to students.
An article in the latest Rolling Stone magazine describes how many young people are losing their right to vote: "Much as local registrars in the South once used poll taxes and literacy tests to deny the vote to black citizens, some county election officials now employ an intimidating mix of legal bullying and added paperwork to prevent civic-minded young people from casting ballots.
Federal and state courts have clearly established that students have the right to vote where they go to school, even if they live in a dorm. But interviews with college students, civil-rights attorneys, political strategists and legal experts reveal that election officials all over the country are erecting legal barriers to keep young voters from casting ballots."

What can you do about it? Send a message to your state officials in charge of elections by signing Rock the Vote’s petition to end student voter suppression Our goal is to have the Secretary of State in all 50 states report back detailing the steps they’ve taken to address the problem, before their national meeting in July.

By Songman (Songman) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 10:20 am: Edit

Can't my son register in our hometown and vote there? True he would have to come home to vote. Also what about absentee ballot voting? They don't apply to students?

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 10:36 am: Edit

I'm not sure I understand the OP -- my D can vote through an absentee ballot. I don't know if she can vote in Rhode Island, where she goes to college. All states have residency requirements, and as long as the student can vote either in home state or school state, I don't see a constitutional problem.

I wonder if the concern is students who go to school in "swing" states -- Ohio comes to mind, since there are a lot of private colleges there -- where they may make the difference if they could register and vote there.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 10:52 am: Edit

I don't completely understand either cause can't students vote by absentee ballot with their home state?

By Bigtmushett (Bigtmushett) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 11:52 am: Edit

Yes. Students can vote by absentee ballot in their homestates. What the OP is saying is that students have the right to decide whether they want to go the absentee route or to vote in the state that their college is in. The Supreme Court has ruled that it is the students' determination as to what their homestate is. There have been many instances of local authorities attempting to undermine this right. The students' right to vote in their college state is especially important in local elections, as they oftentimes want to have a voice in the laws that they have to live under for 9 months out of the year.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 12:00 pm: Edit

I think allowing kids to vote in their college states opens a whole can of worms. Such as in-state residency for state schools. I believe if a kid makes the requirements for in-state residency for state schools, he can vote in state for that state.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 12:01 pm: Edit

Is that really what the Supreme Court decision said? It seems a little odd, but I am not familiar with the case.

By Dsh (Dsh) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 06:53 pm: Edit

It's outrageous that officials are putting up barriers and limiting students' right to vote. I wish we'd stop worrying so much about bringing democracy to other countries and start making sure we have it right here.

Tjkernsmom, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I filled in the fields to send the letter to my secretary of state but was dismayed to read that the letter had gone instead to the secretary of the state of Colorado. (I live in New York.) I don't think that Rock the Vote site is working properly.

By Calkidd (Calkidd) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 07:04 pm: Edit

As a recent graduate, I completely understand the rationale behind these local officals' decision, and totally disagree with it. Local officials in many states want to treat the local university as a powerless cash cow; a place that brings in loads of revenue to local merchants without affecting the populace's daily lives. That was certainly the case at my school, where districts were gerrymandered just enough that students had no majority in any single district even though we made up a good proportion of the city's population.

I think students' daily lives are more affected by local laws and policies than national laws (which receive more attention); students tend to want more parking, cities want students to have less; students tend to want cafes and restaurants to stay open late, cities want them to close early, etc. Students are also highly affected by local laws regarding appartment rentals. Thus, students ought to register to vote IN THE CITY WITHIN WHICH THEIR SCHOOL is, not at their permanent address.

By Dsh (Dsh) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 07:10 pm: Edit

Now I'm even more confused. The confirmation email said the letter went to "Secretary of State, CO" at a Los Angeles address!

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