A college student's guide to all things voting

Voting is such a crucial part of how our country is shaped. Today, Gen Z and Millennials are becoming the largest share of eligible voters, soon to surpass the number of Baby Boomers. If you are in a position to vote, but don’t understand the process, deadlines, or don’t have the resources, that’s alright. Let's get you familiarized with all the info you need to make a well informed decision!

Voting happens at the federal, state and local levels. Here are some key terms to better understand the process. An important term to note here is the “Absentee Ballot”, especially for college students. If you are unable to be present at your local polling station, opt to get an absentee ballot. This is a great option if you are going to school in another state and your place of legal residence is elsewhere. 

Given that elections will look different this year, possibly happening entirely by mail, try to get on the following steps nice and early so you can guarantee that your voice is heard:

1. Register to Vote 

Voting registration is dependent on each state but can happen online, in person or by paper form. Check in with your school’s student government to find out if they offer help with voting registration. 

2. Do your research!

Spend some time doing research on candidates to make the best decision for you. Though the information from media coverage may seem accurate, take some time to read about candidates and their history to choose wisely for yourself. 

3. Read up on Issues

Take a moment to better understand the issues at stake. Consider topics like student loans, debt, higher education and much more. Think about where you may go after you graduate and how the issues in that community will be addressed. 

4. Look into the Rules

Each state has different rules and regulations surrounding voting. From basic ID requirements to timelines, stay ahead of the rest by making sure you’re all set up to vote and meet the requirements. 

5. Vote!

Find your local polling location here. If you don't feel comfortable going in person or live in another state than your legal address, vote by mail if you can. Be mindful of how much time it takes to cast your vote over mail. Check out voter guides to learn more about voting in your state as a student.

Here are a list of states with their respective deadlines.

With the elections right around the corner, it's time to use your voice and be heard.