Butler University students have many choices regarding voting in the general election this November. With voter turnout and registration the urge to get out and vote is even stronger.
According to the 2010 census, only 58 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 are registered to vote.
JoAnna Brown political science and American politics adjunct professor said she feels young people should exercise their right to vote.
“It is so important for young people to vote,” Brown said. “Although it may not seem as if some of the issues are relevant to them today, young people must remember that the individuals whom we elect into office today make decisions and pass
laws that affect them in the present as well as in the future.”
Angie Nussmeyer, Marion County Board of Elections press secretary, said that young people, especially those who are unsatisfied with the state of the nation or government, should vote.
“If you’re not happy with the state of things in your nation, state, city or even your school, you can change it with a vote,” Nussmeyer said. “Absolutely every vote counts.”
Students have many options for voting on or off campus.
Students who live at a Marion County address during the school year have the option to vote in Indianapolis. Students can also choose to vote in their hometown via an absentee ballot.
“Students should vote where they feel the most comfortable voting,” Nussmeyer said. “But if you plan on staying in Indianapolis after graduation to work, live and play, it might be a good idea to vote in Marion County. But the choice is
ultimately the student’s.”
Sophomore Michelle Ferro said that she plans on voting absentee in her hometown of South Bend, Ind.
“I already got my ballot in the mail,” Ferro said. “I just feel that I’m more knowledgeable about the candidates at home, and I recognize all the names on the ballot. I also know exactly how the issues affect my everyday life.”
Sophomore Cole Collins said that he has voted in Indianapolis since attending Butler.
“I’m from Washington State, which is a deadlocked liberal state,” Collins said. “I feel like my vote can make more of a difference in Indiana, which is typically conservative but did elect Obama in 2008.”
Collins, who is also the president of College Democrats, has worked to make voter registration more convenient for students.
Collins said College Democrats holds voter registration tables Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings in Starbucks.
College Republicans also sets up voter registration opportunities outside Starbucks on Wednesdays.
“These registrations have nothing to do with any political party,” Collins said. “We’re also not forcing anyone to go vote. We just have the papers there for students to fill out, and then we take them to the Board of Elections.”
Voter registration for Indiana ends Oct. 9, so students who want to vote in Indianapolis need to register sometime this week, Nussmeyer said.
Students who previously registered to vote in Marion County but recently moved to a new off-campus house or residence hall should re-register in case their precinct is different.
“Most students registered to vote in Marion County will vote at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but not all,” Nussmeyer said. “It’s definitely a good idea to check your precinct.”
Students can also take advantage of early voting in Indianapolis.
“If you’re in class all day on Nov. 6 or if you work, you can vote early at the Election Board office,” Nussmeyer said.
To vote on Election Day, students must be registered by the deadline and bring a government-issued form of identification that includes a photograph.
A passport, military I.D. or an Indiana driver’s license are all acceptable. Out-of-state driver’s licenses will not suffice for identification to vote in Indianapolis.
Students can find more information on absentee voting, early voting or registration dates at www.rockthevote.com
Collins reiterated that students have a lot of power in their vote.
“People can’t complain about how society is doing if they aren’t voting,” Collins said. “One vote can literally change the whole state. Even if things don’t turn out how you wanted, it matters that you actually try—and it’s not that hard to vote.”