Registration Looms for NewVoters

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Registration Looms for NewVoters

Clinton’s headquarters in Carlisle on High St.

Clinton’s headquarters in Carlisle on High St.

Ian Ridgway ’19 / The Dickinsonian

Clinton’s headquarters in Carlisle on High St.

Ian Ridgway ’19 / The Dickinsonian

Ian Ridgway ’19 / The Dickinsonian

Clinton’s headquarters in Carlisle on High St.

Becca Stout ’20, Contributing Writer

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As many Dickinson students will cast their ballots for the first time on November 8, the voter registration deadline is fast-approaching.

The last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania is October 11, according to U.S. Vote Foundation’s website,. And absentee ballot requests must be processed before November 1.

“Interested groups on campus have established a voter registration coalition on campus,” says Philip Morabito ’17, President of the College Democrats. The groups involved include AAUW, College Republicans, College Democrats, SLCE and the Political Science Department, among others, reports Morabito.

Faculty and fellow students will be stationed in the HUB periodically to assist in student voter registration. Off campus, the closest place to register is the Hillary Clinton office on 25 West High Street in Carlisle. While it is a hub for the Democratic Party, anyone can register to vote there regardless of party affiliation.

Students can also register from the comfort of their dorms at the following link, which leads to a downloadable application form and an online registration form: https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/VoterRegistrationApplication.aspx.

The registration process is not popular among all Dickinsonians. According to Professor of Political Science James Hoefler, “The arcane and convoluted registration systems in the 50 U.S. states are, taken together, a collective national disgrace. Nowhere in the Western democratic world is it more difficult to register to vote.”

Assistant Professor of Political Science Sarah Niebler feels “…it would be beneficial for all states to have same-day voter registration.”

Associate Professor of History and Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History Matthew Pinsker “even believe[s] that we’re approaching the stage where ‘registration’ might not even be necessary anymore. Soon, if partisans allow for it, eligible voters should be able to vote by mail, at least in general elections, without any prior registration.”

Until Pinsker’s dreams are realized, the registration process remains the same, and will require students who wish to switch their voter registration to Pennsylvania to decide by the deadline.

“…Pennsylvania is a battleground state, whereas several neighboring states are not, so students may want to register and vote here so their presidential vote has a greater likelihood of being decisive,” states Niebler.

However, if a student’s home state’s race is even closer, like in Ohio, according to Dr. Hoefler, they should vote on the absentee ballot from their home state.

Professor Marchetti takes the opposite tack, claiming there are many problems involving the absentee ballot process that could potentially lead to it not being counted. She suggests students register to vote where they can vote in person.

Niebler concedes that another reason students may wish to register in Pennsylvania is that “While Carlisle Borough Council members are not being elected in November, it’s important to remember that local government does affect Dickinson students.”

Hoefler claims that because fewer college students vote, their issues are not deemed as important as those of other groups of voters with larger turnout rates. If more college students vote in this election, Hoefler says, the “…concerns of younger voters will be much less likely to be ignored in the years to come.”

For Pinsker, education is the best reason for students to vote. Pinsker holds that “Voting is not really about changing the result of an election (which is typically beyond the control of any individual), but rather about defining yourself and your values.”

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