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College students: Plan now to vote in general election

Gena Asher | Published on 7/14/2022
As college students prepare for their moves to campus, their to-do lists should include more than their fall clothing, laptops and laundry supplies.

“Don’t forget to plan for voting this fall,” said Lisa Dick, League of Women Voters of Hamilton County president. “Those heading off to campus can make a few plans right now to ensure an easy voting process in November.”

College students living away from home may use absentee ballots to cast their votes, but they should allow time for applying for the ballot and receiving it by mail at their campus location.

This year, the deadline to request absentee ballots is Oct. 27. But Beth Sheller, Hamilton County election administrator, advises students to request the ballot as soon as they have their campus mailing addresses.

“The deadline is only 12 days before the election, and while our office processes requests on the same day we receive them, we send them in the mail and you return them by mail, so there could be delays,” she said.

Sheller suggested using the website to request absentee ballots. This government site also features registration information, lists of candidates, polling locations and other info.

Some students opt to vote in local races in their college towns, which is permissible, she said. In Indiana, those students would change their permanent addresses on their registration to that of their campus residence. Then, they could vote at the polls on election day of they prefer.

“It is just a personal preference for each student,” Sheller said, noting that students cannot vote in both their college towns and their hometowns. “Often, campus groups help students make these changes. Students going to college outside Indiana should check their states’ requirements for this.”

Another resource is the League of Women Voters’ website, which offers information about candidates in races all over the country, with the ability to tailor the information to a user’s street address. These features will be live in early October with the start of early voting.

“If students want to learn more about their hometown candidates or candidates in their new locations, they can simply type in their addresses to learn who the candidates are and why they want to hold the office they are running for,” said Dick of the  Hamilton County league. “Local leagues all over the nation, including ours, collect information from local candidates to add to the site so that voters can make their decisions.” is free and nonpartisan in keeping with the League of Women Voters’ mission as an organization that encourages informed and active participation in government.