Students: Make Your Voices Heard in the 2008 Elections
The hills of New Hampshire are alive with the sound of political debate, but if you haven't registered yet to vote in the 2008 elections, the good news is that it's not too late.
All college students 18 and older are eligible to register to vote, whether in their hometown or the town in which their college is located, provided they establish their legal domicile in that town. Voters can only have one domicile, and cast only one vote.
For Colby-Sawyer students, the first thing to do is decide whether to cast your vote as a resident of New London, N.H., or as a resident of your hometown, in person or by way of an absentee ballot.
Register to Vote in New London
The New London town clerk will registers voters from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday through Oct. 24 and on Saturday, Oct.. 25 for a special registration (see information below). If New London voters do not register on or before Oct. 25, they have one final opportunity on Tuesday, Nov. 4, to both register and vote. The New London Town Offices are in the white building adjacent to the Town Common on Main Street.
The New London Supervisor of the Checklist will be on campus Thursday, Oct. 23 from 5- 6 p.m. at the Ware Center Information Desk to register students to vote. Town officials will also hold a session starting at 11 a.m. on Sat., Oct. 25, in the New London Town Hall.
All you have to do is bring photo ID, and that, according to New London Town Clerk and Tax Collector Linda Hardy, includes your Colby-Sawyer ID card, your driver's license or passport.
Voting By Absentee Ballot
If you want your vote to count in your home state, and you're not sure you'll be able to vote there in person, contact your town or city hall to request an absentee voter registration form from your town clerk. If you are already registered in your hometown, simply request an absentee ballot.
To vote absentee in New Hampshire, voters must register in person. Students should be able to do this over fall break and may be able to vote at that time as well.
Here is some information about voting in neighboring states:
In Maine, voters can register by mail up to the close of business day on Oct.14. Voters can register in person even the day of the election. Voters can request an absentee ballot online, by mail, or in person. Students can vote absentee at their town clerk's office beginning now so it can be done while home for fall break.
In Massachusetts, voters need to be registered by 20 days before the election. Voters can register by mail up to the close of business day on Oct. 15. However, it may take a couple weeks to get confirmation so plan now!
Here is the form.
Students can vote absentee at their town clerk's office beginning now so it can be done while home for fall break. Request a ballot online here.
In Vermont, voters need to be registered by Oct. 29. Voters can register by mail up to the close of business on the 29th as well. Here is the form.
Voters can cast their ballots early in Vermont, so students could go home, register and vote over fall break. Early or absentee ballots must be received by the town clerk's office by the day before the election or at a polling place by 7 p.m. on the day of the election.
Here is the link to request an absentee ballot.
In Connecticut, voters can register by mail if they are postmarked no later than Oct. 21. The deadline to register in person at your town hall is Oct. 28.
Here is the voter registration form.
Here is the link to request an absentee ballot.
Here is a link to the secretary of state's site.
In New York, voters can register by mail but it must be received 25 days before the election so act NOW! Here is a link to the form. If voters are already registered they can vote in person beginning 32 days prior to the election.
In Rhode Island, voters can register by mail but the deadline was Oct. 4. Requests for absentee or mail-in ballots can be made in person, but if you request by mail it must be done by 21 days prior to the elections so act FAST; here is the link: Link
Here is a link to the election site.
The Official Deal
Here's something you should know about registering to vote in New Hampshire if you are an out-of-state student, in the official language of the State of New Hampshire:
Your right to vote is not affected by where you obtain a driver's license or register your car. However, you may be subject to fines, administrative penalties, or loss of driving privileges under the motor vehicle laws if you establish legal domicile/residence in New Hampshire and fail, within 60 days, to obtain a New Hampshire license showing that address or if you fail, within 60 days, to register your car in New Hampshire at that address.
Establishing a voting domicile has the effect of also making that place your legal residence for many purposes including motor vehicle laws. Voting records will be routinely matched with motor vehicle department records to ensure valid information is provided in the voter registration process.
Establishing a legal residence carries with it the duty to get a New Hampshire license if you are going to drive in the state and to register your vehicle here, if you have one, through that town/city. Failing to comply with these motor vehicle laws, however, will NOT affect your right to vote.
Changing your legal address may affect other legal interests. None of these changes affects your right to register and vote where you were domiciled prior to coming to college or your right to register and vote where you are domiciled while attending college, but changing your legal address can cause unrelated changes to things like:
Health insurance most health insurance is not affected. If you obtain insurance through a family plan that requires your legal domicile be at your family residence, you may want to check with your family or your insurance agent.*
Car insurance usually affected only if you obtain insurance through a family plan that requires your legal domicile be at your family residence. Check with your family or your insurance agent.*
Taxes only individuals with significant assets or tax liabilities might be affected. If you are in this category you may want to check with your tax advisor.*
Any scholarship or grant that is conditioned on your being and remaining a legal resident of a particular town/city or state. Financial aid officers report that major student loan and grant programs including Pell, Perkins, Stafford, PLUS, SEOG, and federal work study are not affected. Check with your financial aid officer if you have questions.*
Do not let these concerns discourage you from voting, however. For a few students it may be important to register and vote in the town where you resided before coming to college. Generally, establishing a legal residence or domicile for voting purposes in New Hampshire after you have entered college here will not change your tuition status.
If you have questions or concerns regarding whether changing your legal residence will affect any of these legal interests you should inquire with your insurance company, your tax advisor, the organization or entity that granted you a scholarship/grant, AAA, or your college admissions officials. www.sos.nh.gov/college.htm (www.sos.nh.gov/college.htm)
Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide where he or she wants to vote. If you have questions, it is best to contact your town clerk.
If you are interested in voting in New London and have questions, contact New London Town Clerk & Tax Collector Linda Hardy at 526-4821 ext. 11.
For more information about voting as a college student in New Hampshire, visit www.sos.nh.gov.com.