Publication for RU Tartan

Voter ID laws have changed for November election

Election Day approaches as candidates make their last tours around the country; the last debates occur and constituents decide whom they will vote for. This coming election, candidates have tried to campaign to college students since this is the population with the highest apathy towards government and politics. Federal and state laws have made changes to the voting registration process to make sure that everyone, including students away from home will be able to vote.

Many college students believe that they will not be able to vote because they are away from their voting districts. However, students are allowed to vote in their hometown as long as they fill out an “absentee” ballot. This means that a student voting away from home will be able to vote before the actual Election Day and their vote will still count in their home district.

Laws concerning voting have changed for this election: all voters are required to have an ID when they go to the polls (social security card do NOT count).  A few of the IDs that are accepted are state-issued IDs (driver’s license, ID card), student IDs that are issued by a college/university in the state, current utility bill for place of residence, bank statement with name on it, military ID, and even a concealed weapon permit. The list goes on with the acceptable identifications you can bring in, which can be found at: http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/votinginperson.html.

States are making voting even more convenient by allowing constituents to submit a “Provisional Ballot.”  A Provisional Ballot is for those who cannot bring a valid ID on the day they vote.   A Provisional Ballot says that one will guarantee they will bring their ID by 5 p.m. the Friday after Election day.

Critics believe that the new ID laws were put into place to deter younger voters from getting to the polls. Many are sure that college students do not keep up with the news and aren’t informed. “Rock the Vote” is a campaign to help new and young voters get to the polls. They get celebrities and those best known in pop culture to explain the importance of voting in their ads. Another ad campaign aimed towards younger voters is BET’s “Vote or Die” which is an appeal to minority voters to exercise their vote. They believe not voting is equivalent to disenfranchisement.

According to The Battalion, a Texan student newspaper, 57 percent of college students are not informed about politics or day-to-day news. Voting is an unalienable right that is given to all citizens, it is the force that drives democracy forward.  In order to move our society forward, we must exercise this right so that our future and the day-to-day news gets better.

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