Will your voice be heard on Election Day?

Many college students are looking forward to participating in their first presidential election, but those who are not registered might wonder how they can cast their vote on Nov. 8.

Thanks to the Higher Education Act of 1988, all college students are allowed to register to vote in the locality in which they live during college.  Whether you live in a residence hall or in off-campus housing, you have the right to vote while attending school.

According to the Campus Vote Project’s website, students attending college in Pennsylvania may register under their school’s address since it is considered their place of residency.  To register, simply fill out an online application on votespa.com, a state-run site that provides voter information.

If you would prefer not to register online, you may also download a form on votespa.com and mail it to the County Voter Registration Office, or apply in person at a County Voter Registration Office.  The deadline to register is Oct. 11, so make sure your application is submitted on time.

Students who are already registered in their hometown can vote by requesting an absentee ballot.  According to votesPA, Pennsylvania residents must apply to their County Board of Elections for an absentee ballot.  The Board will send the absentee ballot via mail, and the voter must fill out the ballot and mail it back to the Board by 5:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election (Nov. 1 for this year).

During presidential elections, ballots received up until Election Day will be counted for only president and vice-president.

Still, it is best to apply early and keep mailing time in mind to make sure your ballot is counted.  Note that the procedure for absentee ballots differs from state to state, so students who reside outside of Pennsylvania should look up their state’s policy.

If it’s your first time voting at a polling location, you must present valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license, US passport, US Armed Forces ID, employee ID, or student ID.

For more information or downloadable forms, visit votespa.com.