LETTER: Despite barriers, students should vote

University students may utilize resources provided by Student Council to ensure they know where, when, and how to vote

op-votingbooth-courtesypennstatenews

Election Day for the 2018 midterm election is on Tuesday, Nov 6.

Courtesy Flickr / Penn State News

Election Day for the 2018 midterm election is on Tuesday, Nov 6. Voting has traditionally been one of the most fundamental ways for a citizen to affect their government. Despite this, only 31 percent of millennials are sure that they will vote on Election Day. This year features many close races, including the University’s own congressional district, emphasizing the need for students to vote. Students should create a plan to make an informed vote on Election Day by using the resources available to them, despite any barriers that may exist.

University students may utilize resources provided by Student Council to ensure they know where, when and how to vote. In order to inform students on the logistics of voting, Student Council will be tabling by Newcomb and providing pamphlets with information and non-partisan voter guides in the lead up to Election Day. On Election Day itself, members of Student Council will be stationed at O’Hill, the corner of Jefferson Park Avenue and Shamrock Road, Thornton Drive and Rupple Drive to guide students to their polling locations.

Additionally, students should familiarize themselves with resources and important information connected to casting their vote. First, Virginia requires a state-issued ID to cast a ballot, and this requirement can be fulfilled by Virginia driver's licenses and student IDs. Second, free shuttles can take students to the Buford Middle School and Johnson Elementary School polling places with pick-up and drop-off points at the corner of JPA and Shamrock and Thornton Hall. Third, students can contact CAR2Vote to get a free ride to the polls. CAR2Vote will also have a pick-up location on Ruppel Drive behind the School of Commerce.

It is critical that students to make a plan to vote before Election Day due to the barriers to voting maintained by the University itself. University President Jim Ryan recently spoke out against the cancellation of classes on Election Day. Since polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m., students must clearly establish a time for voting. This is further exacerbated by the fact that class sign ups for third-years are scheduled for Election Day. While Student Council has disapproved of these decisions, nothing will change before Election Day, so it is important for students to make a concrete plan ahead of time.

Avery Gagne is a member of Student Council’s Legislative Affairs Committee, and is a second-year College student. 

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