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Where Should College Students Vote?

tracy flick for president!

Robert VerBruggen [who went to Northwestern] of Phi Beta Cons brings up a point relevant to the Campaigning-for-Credit discussion:

“This reminds me of a scheme I saw in college (not by the administration): Fliers encouraging students from swing states to register at home instead of in Illinois. Because of the way election laws work, students who live in one state (even just in summer) and go to school in another can vote in either, making it possible for them to direct their votes to where they count most, thus increasing the power of college students.”

Questions to readers: Is this sort of thing common where you work/go to school?”

I’ve devoted a few posts to Boston University’s Dean of Students’ Blog over the last few weeks. One of the Dean’s Blog gems was a guest post by Dr. Margaret Ross, also of BU, that encouraged college students to vote where they’d have the greatest impact, a place also known as Not Massachusetts:

“My hope is that students all over America will vote.  It usually will mean registering and often will require procuring an absentee ballot.  I also hope that students will register to vote in their home states.  In general, Massachusetts votes Democrat.  There is every reason to expect this will be the case in the 2008 election.  Therefore, the votes of the many students in school throughout Massachusetts will be more significant if they are cast in the states from which these many thousands of students have journeyed.”

There ya go, Mr. VerBruggen [emphasis mine].

I find the pick’n'choose approach to be distasteful and find Ross’s suggestion to be condescending. I have always considered myself a resident of New York State no matter where I’ve been – and it would take an awfully significant change in circumstances to see that transform in the future. I didn’t vote in Boston because I considered myself a visitor, not a resident. I vote in the state whose driver’s license I carry.

But the odd part of all this is that the same people who moan about privilege-this and discrimination-that have no problem with some taking advantage of the opportunities granted to them by wealth, talent, whatever – in this case, winding up at an institution of higher education, which for a host of reasons isn’t the norm – to make their vote count for more than another’s. A 19 year old bank teller, married with a kid and who never went to college, doesn’t have the opportunity to float their vote. Yet another reason

I’d argue that the teller contributes a bit more to society than a college student at, say, Manchester College, but the activists don’t see it that way. Let’s modify that old mantra of the higher education lefties and scream it from the Ivory tower:

Privilege for me but not for thee!

… because that’s exactly what the float-your-vote advocates believe in.

5 Responses to “Where Should College Students Vote?”

  1. I had to LOL at your picture from the movite “Election”. I loved that movie.

    I thought that people had to vote, like you said, what their address shows on their driver’s license. Hence, college students will need to apply for an absentee ballot. How many said college students will actually DO that? And, how many are actually registered to vote? There was a full page ad on the back of our local university’s newspaper, sponsored by Obama (don’t get me started…. UGH), reminding students that the deadline for voter registration is October 6th. Did it SAY where students are supposed to register? Sigh….

    Like I wrote on one of my friends’ blogs, this election is going to be so intense. There’s too much at stake, especially with the financial mess (and definitely DON’T get me started on that. I’m SO angry about that, I could spit blood.)

  2. Just like active duty members of the military are tied to the state they came from when they enlisted, college students should have the same benefit/restriction. Both retain the driver’s license of the state they came from and both should only be able to vote in that state’s election.

    My biggest gripe with this ‘vote where you live’ as opposed to where you pay taxes/are licensed is that many college students can easily vote in two states. I have heard quite a few students laughing about their ability to get two votes and taking full advantage of the opportunity to do so.

  3. LL,

    That’s the plan I like, too. Drivers license or state ID = voting rights, simple as that.

  4. I’m not defending Manchester (by the way, I know faculty there), but there’s nothing unexpected. The Brethren are anabaptists, like the Mennonites, and have swung left for over a hundred years. It would be unrealistic to expect anything else.

  5. rightwingprof,

    Good point – I wish I’d added a little about that. What I don’t understand is why the administration at Manchester doesn’t have the courage or conviction to align what they say with what they do.

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