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Students may register to vote locally
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost,” Sixth President of the United States of America John Quincy Adams said.
According to the U.S Census Bureau, in 2008, only 49 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the presidential elections. Although that was an increase from the elections in 2004, it still leaves a great divide for college age students to fill in the upcoming elections.
“Voter registration is something that confuses some newer students, especially if they are not from Virginia,” Liberty University junior Alex Nelson said.
However, voting isn’t as complicated as some feel, Dean of Students Keith Anderson said.
Liberty University will be assisting students in registering and understanding the voting system as they have done in previous years, Anderson said.
“My job is to assist students here to be developed. Part of that job is to aid in the holistic development so that students can matriculate through our university and go home or to a new job with more of a life purpose,” Anderson said. “Part of that life purpose is understanding the importance of community leaders.”
The administration said that although they do encourage students to vote, they will not tell students who to vote for during the upcoming elections.
Falwell stressed the importance of voting in local elections and the impact they have on Liberty students.
“Local officials decide how much Liberty students pay in sales taxes, meal taxes and they set the real estate tax rates that landlords pay and pass on to commuter students in their rent,” he said. “The new pedestrian bridge across Wards Road is being funded by the city only because so many Liberty students have registered to vote locally in recent years.”
Although some students are excited about voting in Lynchburg and the candidates coming, others are still unsure of how they can be active in the political scene if they are already registered in another state.
“I am registered to vote in Michigan,” Nelson said. “I feel like it would be too much of a mess to try to change that.”
However, this is a misconception, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE).
“A prospective voter must be a resident of the precinct where he seeks to register. In order to establish ‘residency,’ a prospective voter must have a physical location where they intend to stay for an unlimited time,” according to the SBE website.
The State Board of Elections decided in 2008 that a college dorm address fulfills this residency requirement.
Students who wish to vote in Lynchburg may register using the address of the university. The deadline for students to register before the general local elections is Oct. 17, and they may register online at SbeVirginia.gov.
“It is the responsibility of the students to be involved in the affairs that affect them,” Anderson said. “The people who are making those decisions and changes are elected here. A responsible person would want to be involved.”