Specific details for a general election
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 20:10
There is one week left to register to vote in New York state. Although the election is still more than one month away, all voter registrations must be mailed or turned in before Oct. 12.
This editorial was not written to tell you why you should vote. There will be countless other editorials and discussions with family, friends and professors for that. This editorial is meant to tell you how to vote when you’re between permanent addresses during your college career.
The first decision you need to make is which state you want to cast your vote in. Any Plattsburgh State students who are not New York state residents can register to vote in either their home state or New York state.
According to New York state law, as determined in the 1986 case of Williams v. Salerno, any non-New York state residents studying in New York can be considered a voting resident of the state if they declare their intention to live at their New York state address “for the time at least.”
In other words, if you plan to stay at your New York address during the election season, then you can claim to be a temporary resident and can register to vote in New York state.
Voter registration forms can be found at the Clinton County Board of Elections office or downloaded online at the office’s website.
Any students planning on voting in their home state but who won’t be home to vote on Election Day can apply for an absentee ballot that can be mailed in early. You must be a registered voter in your state to apply.
As with voter registration, each state has its own guidelines for absentee ballots. These guidelines can be found by searching for your home state at www.longdistancevoter.org. The site explains how to apply for an absentee ballot and if there are any rules or restrictions involved.
Though 30 states allow for citizens to apply for an absentee ballot with no questions asked, the other 20 require a formal excuse to be submitted explaining why the voter cannot be present on Election Day. Each of these states accept being out of your home district as a valid reason for applying for an absentee ballot.
Students who can visit their homes before Nov. 7 may be eligible in 41 states and the District of Columbia to cast an early vote. For a set number of days before the election, voters in those states can visit their polling location and cast an early ballot to be counted on Election Day. As with the other voting methods, certain requirements and guidelines apply.
For students unsure of where to cast their vote, the website www.countmore.org compares how many electoral votes are offered by each state and how close the race was for each state during the 2008 presidential election.
This information can then be used to determine in which state a single vote will have more influence in. A vote cast in a state where 1 percent of voters determined the winner will likely have a greater chance of influencing the election outcome than in a state where the winner won in a 40 percent landslide.
However, in the end, it is the right of the individual voter to decide where they want to cast their vote and why. Just understand that the deadline for registering for that right is coming soon and may have already passed for some states. It’s your vote, but don’t forget to sign up for it.