Student Voter Registration Issues

Lily Swain ‘25, Guest Writer

Students went to the polls to vote in-person during Pennsylvania’s General Election on Tuesday, November 8. Through Dickinson Votes, a number of students also volunteered to sit at the polls and hand out stickers to student voters. Based on the number of stickers that were handed out, Sarah Niebler, Associate Professor of Political Science who helps run Dickinson Votes, said that there were around 300-340 students who voted in-person. It is assumed that hundreds more students voted absentee, based on voting statistics from 2020, where 1,398 total students voted.

However, amongst the voting successes, there were up to 20 students who showed up at the polls and were unable to vote. Voter registration issues seem to be the culprit, and the connecting thread between the cases is that these students registered to vote at the same location. 

Ashley Harbert ’26 was one such student whose voter registration didn’t go through. She explained that one day outside of Althouse there were people walking around with clipboards. They approached her asking if she’d like to register to vote. Ashley filled out a sheet with her information, and the people called her a couple of weeks later to confirm her information.

But she never received a voting card in the mail, and when she went to Bosler Library to vote, the poll workers confirmed that she was never registered. A poll worker there told her that a few other people had had the same problem. Harbert said she “felt disappointed that I didn’t get to have this experience as a first-time voter. I know how important it is to use my right to vote.”

It is unclear who the voter registration organization stationed outside of Althouse was. Harbert could not recall the appearance of the person that took her registration.

Professor Niebler, speaking on behalf of Dickinson Votes, established that it was not Dickinson Votes or any Dickinson-affiliated group. Professor Niebler added that “it’s unfortunate. But there’s no reason to believe that it’s a grand conspiracy” on the part of the group. It could have been because the group forgot to put stamps on the envelopes when they sent in the students’ information.

Dickinson Votes feels “disappointed,” but they don’t want this incident to prevent students from voting in the future. If students want to be certain that their voter registration information is sent in, they should contact Dickinson Votes. It is also possible to check voter registration status online at

“Voting is easy,” said Professor Niebler. Students can pick up registration sheets from Professors Sarah Niebler or Erik Love in Denny Hall. Completed registration sheets can be returned to Niebler’s office. When students return their applications, Professor Niebler checks to make sure each one is complete before sending it in.