Voting Here, Voting There: Deciding Where to Cast Your Ballot in November

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Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

On November 8, you will have the opportunity to cast you ballot for the next President of the United States, as well as for state and local elected offices, and, in some cases, on referenda. In addition to deciding whom to vote for, you have the important choice of where to vote.

Swarthmore students are all able to register and vote in Pennsylvania. The deadline for new registrants is October 11, 2016, and the form is accessible online here. If you are not sure whether or not you are registered, or would like to make sure your name is in the database, you can also check that online. Registrar Martin Warner has listed important considerations for PA voters on his website, as well. Pennsylvania is a swing state, so one can have a clear impact in voting here for the presidential race; however, there are also many important national and local races where you can make your voice heard, such as that for the US Senate, PA Attorney General, and State Treasurer.

If, instead, you choose to vote in your own state, you may be able to vote through an absentee ballot. Students interested in voting at home should check Long Distance Voter for more information, as these laws vary greatly (first-time voters in Michigan, for example, must vote in person if they register by mail, but are able to vote by mail if out of town, otherwise). On the website, you can fill out your state’s absentee ballot request form, and find answers to many questions surrounding absentee voting. Additionally, consider going to the League of Women Voters’ Vote411 page, where you can access voter registration forms for every state, as well as research any pertinent deadlines or options.

Wherever you decide to vote, it is important to take the time to make balanced decisions regarding your candidate selections. If you have any questions about elections, political issues, voting, or similar topics that you would like to see addressed on campus, or would just like to know more about personally, please contact Jacob Demree ’19 (jdemree1) or Simran Singh ’19 (ssingh2), Co-Coordinators of the Swarthmore Political Engagement Project (SPEP).

Swarthmore Political Engagement Project

The Swarthmore Political Engagement Project is a Lang Center for Civic and Social Justice-sponsored initiative which works to bring electoral issues to light on campus. They focus on local, state, and national elections and issues to engage the entire student body in politics.

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