Why wouldn’t you vote?

By on October 4, 2012

How to register, how to vote absentee, and why it's important

You can’t win the game if you don’t play. Let’s say the game is called Democracy in America. Congratulations! On the day you turned 18 years old, you earned the privilege and the right to play the game.

Election outcomes are determined by those who participate. Elected officials make important decisions about how our society will expend its resources and the restraints it will place on individual behavior. For example, the drinking age and the age at which you can get a driver’s license are decisions made by elected officials. Although it may not appear that way, government is meant to represent and serve you. But you still have to advocate for yourself! Voting is the best way to do this.

Although the glamour of the campaign season may detract from the real point of public service, this election is actually all about you. What do you want from your government? What direction do you think this country should be headed in? The choice is yours. Your voice matters. But you must vote if you want it to be heard.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” If you want to have say in the actions and decisions of your government, participate by voting on November 6th!

HOW TO REGISTER TO VOTE:

The system does not always make it an easy process to register to vote but that is no excuse! There are only 33 days left, but there is still plenty of time to register to vote!

As a college student you can register in Connecticut with your school address, or you can request an absentee ballot from your home state. Every state has slightly different rules on voter registration, which can make the process tricky to navigate. Luckily, The Chronicle has created a simple guide of how to register to vote for you right here (with information provided by http://gottavote.org).

DISCLAIMER: This article uses http://gottavote.org as a resource for information and voter registration. This particular website does the best job of making registration simple and easy. Although the web site is sponsored by the Obama For America campaign, The Chronicle is in no way endorsing President Obama. The primary objective of this article is to get you to register to vote, not to advocate for either candidate.

Connecticut

Voting in Hamden: To vote in the November 6th, 2012 general election, you must register by mail or through a voter registration agency by no later than October 23rd, 2012. You can also register online at http://gottavote.org – make sure to check the “I am a college student” box.

To vote in Hamden, CT, print out this form, fill it out and mail it in:
http://www.ct.gov/sots/LIB/sots/ElectionServices/ElectForms/electforms/ed671.pdf
(Remember to use your school address and not your home address. Look up your Campus Box Number on WebAdvisor if you don’t know it.)

Absentee Voting (if you are from another town in Connecticut and would prefer to register there):
To have a ballot mailed to you, you must apply in writing to your local registrar or town clerk, starting 31 days before Election Day (this Saturday).

A presidential ballot must be mailed or otherwise returned by the voter so that the town clerk receives it no later than the close of the polls on Election Day.

Connecticut Absentee Ballot Form:
http://www.sots.ct.gov/sots/LIB/sots/ElectionServices/ElectForms/electforms/aabeng.pdf

ABSENTEE VOTING IN OTHER STATES:

Massachusetts
If you are registering for the first time in Massachusetts, you must register by October 17th. This state requires two forms to be sent in – one to register for the first time and one to request an absentee ballot.

To have a ballot mailed to you, you must fill out a form and send it to your city or town clerk or election commission.

Although the deadline to apply for absentee ballots is noon on the day before Election Day, it is highly recommended that you submit the application as soon as possible. The clerk must then receive the completed ballot by the close of polls on Election Day in order for it to be counted.

MA Voter Registration Form: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2012-Voter-reg-mail-in.pdf
MA Absentee Ballot Form: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/absentee_ballot.pdf

New Jersey
If you are registering to vote for the first time in New Jersey, you must register by October 16th. This state requires two forms to be sent in – one to register for the first time and one to request an absentee ballot.

New Jersey has absentee voting for any registered voter (hence why the form to register for the first time is necessary). To receive your ballot by mail, an application must be received by your County Clerk seven days before the election. If you want to vote by absentee ballot in the General Election, you should make your request no later than October 30th, 2012. Your mail-in ballot must be received by the County Clerk before the polls close on Election Day.

NJ Voter Registration Form: http://nj.gov/counties/mercer/officials/clerk/pdf/updated_voter_reg_form.pdf
NJ Absentee Ballot Form: http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/form_pdf/vote-mail-ballot-012712.pdf

New York
If you are registering to vote for the first time in New York, you must register by October 12th. This state requires two forms to be sent in – one to register for the first time and one to request an absentee ballot.

If you will be out of the state on Election Day, you can vote by using an absentee ballot. You must request your absentee ballot by no later than the seventh day before Election Day. For the general election, this would be October 30th, 2012.

NY Voter Registration Form: http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/voteform.pdf
NY Absentee Ballot Form: http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/Absentee06152010.pdf

Rhode Island
If you are from Rhode Island and have never registered to vote, you must register by Sunday, October 9th. However, if you are not registered to vote by then you can register up until or on Election Day and vote for the President/Vice-President only.

Mail ballot applications must be filled out completely and received by your local board no later than 4:00 p.m.on the 21st day before the election in which you wish to vote. So, if you want to vote by absentee ballot in the general election, you should make your request no later than October 16th, 2012 . All mail ballots must be received by the State Board of Elections at 50 Branch Avenue Providence, R.I. 02904 by 9:00 p.m. the night of the election.

RI Voter Registration Form: http://www.ors.ri.gov/Forms/RI_English_VRF.pdf
RI Absentee Ballot Form: http://sos.ri.gov/documents/elections/E-1-General.pdf

***Please note once again that if you have never registered to vote before and wish to vote absentee in your home state, you need to fill out and mail in BOTH a voter registration form and an absentee ballot request form.

If the process of registering to vote and applying for an absentee ballot seems too overwhelming, you can always register to vote in Hamden, CT for 2012 and change it before the next election. Where you register to vote is not permanent by any means. That you make the effort to vote is much more important than which state you vote in!

Don’t wait! Register to vote by downloading these forms, filling them out, and mailing them in as soon as possible!

If you are from a state not listed here or need more information about filling out absentee forms, check out www.longdistancevoter.org.

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