Decision: Should you vote from your home or college state?

Elections are tricky, and it is sometimes difficult for students to mobilize to the polls. In this election, anger towards the candidates running, disapproval in the government itself, and pure laziness are just a few of the reasons students won’t be voting.  We have long days of class and even longer nights of work, so it is understandable that we tend to put off registering, even if we intend on getting our vote into the mix at some point. However, if Addie Bullock ’18 can register absentee from her trip abroad to Paris, then I think we can all figure out a way to cast our ballots.

This election in particular is strange, challenging our community in many ways. Whether people believe Hillary Clinton is a maniacal crook or Donald  Trump is an unrealistic racist, there are many reasons supporting both arguments. Regardless of the status of the two candidates, however, voting is more than just casting your ballot. Which state you vote in can make more of a difference in some places than in others. Kat Restrepo ’18 for example, plans to vote absentee from her home state of Ohio, instead of Maine. When asked why, she explained, “Ohio is a swing state, the state you want to win, so it makes more sense to vote from there, where my vote really counts.”

In addition to strategy, state pride also plays a role in many students’ decisions. Meredith Keenan ’18 explained, “I chose to vote absentee because I’m registered in Connecticut and my congressional elections are a bit more important than Maine. I also identify as more of a ‘nutmeger.’”

As students, many of whom are from out of state, we have to make the decision to vote and where to vote from. Our state pride, the place we have referred to as our home for 18 years conflicts with our current situation as college students in Maine. It’s hard to choose between the two.

But personally, if I were to choose the state of Maine as my residence, I would feel I was betraying the dairy land!                     The decision lies with personal identity. What I have found is that students tend to vote for their home state, unless they believe their vote will count for more in Maine than in their home district.

Then there are the students on campus who can’t vote whether they wanted to or not: international students. After talking to Muheb Esmat ‘17 who is from Afghanistan, I heard a   unique perspective on American politics. He explained that he is “more critical of both sides” because he doesn’t have a party prejudice.When asked which he would choose, voting from his home state if he were an American citizen or voting from the state of Maine, he didn’t have a preference nor did he see the difference.

In the end, he is right. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter whether you vote from your home state or your college state. What is most important is that if you have the opportunity to vote, get moving and cast your ballot. No  matter where you’re voting, we as students will have an effect on the outcome of this election.

If you want an easy way to get an absentee ballot or register, go to: http://www.theskimm.com/2016-election

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