Voting as a college student

Jeralyn Wessel – Staff Writer 

The midterm general election will be held Nov. 8, 2022. At the federal level, all members of the House of Representatives and 35 members of the Senate will be elected. Many state representatives, local officials, and issues will also be decided. While the easiest way for students to vote is to return to their hometown, many may find this inconvenient or difficult. 

If students don’t attend school close to where they’re from, Iowa offers same-day registration. On election day, student voters must arrive at the Terrace View Event Center between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. with a photo ID, school ID, and proof of current address. All Dordt University students should have received an email with an attached document to prove a personal Dordt address. 

Iowa, among many other states, also offers absentee ballot voting. However, the deadline for requesting this ballot in Iowa was Oct. 24. For more information regarding voting in Iowa or your state, contact your county election official. 

Historically, registration and voting rates for college students have been relatively low. In the 2022 presidential election, however, rates increased to 66 percent according to the Campus Vote Project. Students may fail to vote because of inconvenience or feeling the election is not relevant to them at their current life stage, according to Jeff Taylor, an Iowa State senator and Dordt political science professor. But the issues involved in this election prove that voting affects everyone. 

Across the country, elected legislators will decide how to approach the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision. In Iowa, congressmembers will most likely present another bill for school choice funding. Iowa voters will also decide whether Second Amendment language should be added to the state constitution. Decisions made by elected officials affecting college students include tax rates, vaccine mandates, minimum wage rates, and the level of the freedoms of citizens. 

“I think we all have an obligation to be involved in trying to help our neighbor and to serve others,” Taylor said. “Voting and being involved in politics and government is one way we can do that.” 

While voting is the central part of choosing United States public officials, students may wonder about barriers to voting as a college student. Annabella Mosher, a sophomore from Elkhorn, Nebraska, said she needed to think about voting over a month in advance in order to vote with an absentee ballot. Due to the distractions of school and the lack of other options, she may not be able to vote. 

Nia Boentoro, a sophomore from Marion, Iowa, was also unable to request a ballot in time. 

“Especially if we are the ‘next generation’, we should be able to easily vote,” Boentoro said.

The ease of voting depends on the state. Some states, like Washington, automatically send every registered voter a ballot rather than waiting for a request. 

For those on campus who must think about voting far before the election, very few reminders are found. During the year or two leading up to presidential elections, Dordt often hosts multiple candidates, but midterm elections draw very little attention.

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