We hold these truths to be self-evident blah, blah, blah and the pursuit of happiness. Talking about politics can be a daunting task, especially for college students. Their world within the four walls of a classroom is stressful enough, then they’re expected to start adulting too? It is not always easy or fun, but being involved socially and politically in the community is necessary and rewarding.
College-aged voters are a key demographic. College students doubled their voting turnout in the 2018 midterm from the previous 2014 midterm election. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, the voter turnout went from 19% to 40%. College student voter turnout also rose in the 2016 presidential election from 45.1% in 2012 to 48.3%. These numbers are a clear indication that many college students understand their importance in this process. College students play a major role in determining the fate of the country’s future. Not only are they the future leaders, but they are the current coalition.
The deadline to register to vote in the Georgia Presidential Primary and Special Election has passed, but there is still time to get registered before the general election. Many students may be surprised to find out they are already registered as Georgia leads the U.S. in automatic voter registrations. Starting in 2016, any person who receives or renews their driver’s license after the age of 17 ½ is automatically registered to vote unless they choose to opt-out of the process. If a person is unsure of their registration status, they can check using Georgia.gov.
There are many ways to register to vote in the state of Georgia. Voter registration applications can be done online, printed and completed through mail, picked up at a local county board of registrar’s office or picked up at other government offices.
“College students can obtain Georgia voter registration forms, or the necessary forms to register, from their school’s registrar’s office or from the office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs,” according to the Secretary of State and Georgia.gov.
However, when this information was brought to the UWG registrar’s office, there had been no awareness of this. Clint Backstrom, the Director of Enrollment Services Center, made it clear that he would pass along this information to other school officials, and the proper paperwork would be added if needed.
“Starting today, we will have voter registration forms going forward,” said Backstrom.
A further look into the availability of physical voter registration applications led to the Ingram Library.
“We have a small stack,” said Sarah Cooper, Circulation Manager at the Ingram Library. “They’re very old. It’s not something that we get regularly. We would advise students to register online. We have about 60 computers for students in the library that they can use to register online.”
Now, students have no excuses. Whether they go to the Ingram Library, the school’s registrar’s office, or simply use their internet in the comfort of their homes, they can register to vote. If enough students make their voices heard, they could decide the next election.