The student vote has the power to shape political discourse as we know it, but this power must be acted upon. College-aged people make up roughly 21% of the eligible voting population, making college students an incredibly influential “bloc.” Students represent millions of potential voters who can influence social, political, economic, environmental and health-related policies and outcomes.
The student vote is critical to the upcoming November 2018 midterm elections. Not only are local and federal offices on the ballot (including dozens of members of the House and Senate), but there is also much at stake policy-wise. This year, there are six different constitutional amendments on the ballot, for which students can vote “for” or “against.” Amendments pertain to a wide array of issues, such as voting rights, tax cuts, ethics and the balance of powers in the NC executive branch. It is not just about who you vote for.
Here is what students need to know to get to the polls.
There is still hope for those who forgot to register to vote by the October 12 deadline. Thanks to the tireless efforts of voting rights activists, NC allows for same-day voter registration before the date of November 3. This means that students can still register and cast their vote on the same day before Nov 3. Thanks also to the Pack the Polls initiative, all NC State students can register and vote on campus. Here is what students will need for same-day voter registration:
- An official ID
- A piece of mail with your name and address (i.e., a utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck, or anything from the government or a bank)
If you are already registered, you do not need to bring a driver’s license or ID to your voting site.
- Talley Student Union polls will be open seven days per week from October 17 through November 3.
- On weekdays, the Talley Student Union polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
- On Saturdays, the Talley Student Union polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
- On Sundays, the Talley Student Union polls will be open from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
- Talley Student Union is located at 2610 Cates Avenue, Raleigh, NC, 27606. There is limited free parking in the Jeter Drive Bays parking lot adjacent to Reynolds Coliseum.
Democracy is participatory, so involvement is technically optional. This is no excuse to sit out local and federal elections. Successful democracy entails an actively engaged body of citizens. While there are many different ways to engage in one’s civic duty—such as through education, organizing, and protesting—voting is a direct way to prevent corrupt leaders from taking the reins out of the hands of the people; to voice a position; to influence the direction of our communities and nation as a whole.
Leah Block is a communications intern in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.