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Monday, September 8, 2008

Gah! Another Attack on Student Voting.

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Mon, Sep 8, 2008 at 12:43 PM

From Virginia comes some familiar news: People denying out-of-state students the right to vote. The Supreme Court confirmed in 1979 that students can vote in the state they attend college but since then, various groups have tried to discourage students from voting for political and racial reasons. It can be a pretty effective tactic, too, since often students are confused about where they're supposed to vote and don't take the time to register in their new state (unless the Bus Project approaches them with a clipboard). And the desire to vote decreases dramatically when someone's yelling "Carpetbagger!"

Trust me on that - this fight came up back during the Iowa caucuses, when candidates were clawing for every handful of votes and Hillary Clinton actively discouraged non-native Iowan students from voting, since students leaned heavily toward Obama and thus the less they voted, the better. The choices of several hundred out-of-state students (including me) made a big difference in Obama's win there.

Now that Hillary's into all Democrats voting for Obama, though, local Virginia government officials have taken up the call, issuing totally incorrect press releases saying it's illegal for Barack canvassers to register out-of-state Virginia Tech Students. This is frustrating. And deceptive. The argument goes: Students shouldn't vote where they go to college because they're not involved in the community there or keep track of local issues. Bullshit. This is about not wanting young people to vote because you think their ideas or wrong or inherently unwise. I always feel that if there were less hurdles to young people voting, we wouldn't have people older than Alaska in office. If you happen to be one of the 4,798 P.S.U. students who's not a resident, register here.

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