SRU students encouraged to complete voter registration by Oct. 9
Slippery Rock University students are reminded to register to vote by Oct. 9, the deadline to cast a ballot in the Nov. 6 election.
Sept. 19, 2018
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Election Day 2018, the day U.S. citizens can exercise their right to choose the candidate of their choice, is fast approaching. But for many Slippery Rock University students, another choice looms on the horizon: where they should register to vote. Eligible voters in Pennsylvania must register by Oct. 9 to cast a ballot in the Nov. 6 election.
Students living in residence halls or off-campus housing have the choice to either vote based on their temporary address in Slippery Rock or their permanent home address.
Campus groups encourage students to vote in Slippery Rock to avoid the inconveniences of traveling home on a Tuesday or having to complete the forms to submit an absentee ballot. Logistics aside, voting in Slippery Rock is also recommended for students who are unsure where to vote.
"Registering to vote in Slippery Rock makes a lot of sense because you should vote where you spend the majority of your time," said Sharon Sykora, associate professor of political science and adviser for the student organization, SRU Young Progressives. "There are important races in this area that students can make a difference in, and it's easy to change your registration."
Students can register to vote online by the following these steps:
• Visit register.votesPA.com.
• Fill out the form and submit your application.
• Use the application number provided to track your submission.
• Watch your mailbox for your voter registration card.
To be eligible to vote in Pennsylvania, a student must be a U.S. citizen for at least one month before the election; be a resident of Pennsylvania and the election district in which the individual desires to register and vote for at least 30 days before the election; and be at least 18 years of age on or before the date of the election.
Registering to vote will not affect students' statuses for out-of-state tuition, financial aid or their parents claiming them as a dependent for taxes.
Natalie Cargill, a senior political science major from Mars, works for a national advocacy group and political action committee that leads voter registration drives on college campuses. Cargill's group helps students register to vote by either walking them through the paper forms or directing them to the online form.
Cargill has noticed a difference during her three years involved in voter registration drives at SRU.
"The freshmen seem enthusiastic about voting and each year the younger students get more active," said Cargill, who shared she has noticed more students volunteering to help with registration, whether in classrooms or from tables in the Smith Student Center. "With the political climate being as polarizing as it is right now, it's inspiring more young people to be more civically engaged. Local politics are also more accessible for young people to learn (about the issues and candidates) and people realize how it important it is to vote in national, state and local elections."
Polling places for SRU students vary based on their residence hall. For example, a student living in ROCK Apartments votes in Slippery Rock Township and a student living in North Hall votes in Slippery Rock Borough. Students can check their polling place by clicking here and entering their address.
Cargill's group will be assisting more SRU students to register Sept. 25, which is National Voter Registration Day, a non-partisan event to encourage voter participation and increase awareness of state requirements and deadlines for voting. Student organizations that are planning voter registration drives at SRU include the Young Progressives and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Slippery Rock University chapter, which will have a table in the Smith Student Center this week.
Although the most common reason students say they don't vote is that their vote doesn't matter, Cargill's appeal is that voting is the most practical way to make a difference.
"It's important to vote because it's a simple way to make your voice heard," Cargill said. "As a young person, it matters because of the numbers we have (compared to other age demographics). Whether or not you feel like the heads of government hear you, the number of people showing up to vote really matters and it inspires change."
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