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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

March 30, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Students must act fast under looming voter registration deadlines

The presidential election may be a month away, but unregistered potential voters must act now if they want to make a difference.

In New York state, Friday, Oct. 12 is the last day to postmark a mailed-in registration application for the general election. In most places, Oct. 30 is the last day to postmark an application for an absentee ballot. Nov. 5 is the last day to postmark a mailed-in ballot. Students can check the government websites of their home states to see if registration is still open there. It’s your choice to register in the state where your campus is or where your home is located.

Registering to vote takes less time than brewing a cup of coffee in the morning. It takes less time than walking across the Ithaca College campus and certainly less time than watching an episode of whatever reality show is a must-see this week.

With uncertain job prospects and higher debt, it’s no wonder many students decide to simply tune out during election years, unsure about their power to make a noticeable difference when it come to politics.

So be selfish if you have to. If you don’t believe your vote matters in the election, then vote because you believe in basic freedoms. Vote because you want to prove to yourself that you have a strong voice with strong convictions. Vote because, whether your candidate wins or loses, you want to at least prove you are capable of making a choice.

Forty-six million people aged 18-29 are eligible to vote, but fewer than half are registered. It’s easy to feel indifferent, but it’s also easy to become a mail-in voter or file for an absentee ballot.

Whether it’s watching the upcoming debates, or at least clips of the debates from “The Daily Show,” educating yourself on the candidates and the issues, by whatever means, is a crucial step to ensure that your vote represents your voice.

The Ithacan can be reached at ithacan@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @IthacanOnline