Group encourages college students to prepare for voting

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The League of Women Voters of Hamilton County is encouraging college students to prepare for voting in the general election this fall.

College students living away from home can use absentee to cast their votes, but should allow time for applying for the ballot and receiving it by mail at their campus location, according to the League of Women Voters of Hamilton County. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 27.

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

The League of Women Voters, which was created in 1920, is a nonpartisan organization that encourages participation in government and works to increase understanding of public policy issues.

Hamilton County Election Administrator Beth Sheller said students should request ballots as soon as they have their campus mailing address.

“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,” Sheller said.

Sheller suggested that individuals visit indianavoters.in.gov to request absentee ballots. The site also has registration information, lists of candidates, polling locations and other information.

However, some students choose to vote in local races in their college towns, which is permitted, Sheller said. In Indiana, those students could change their permanent addresses on their registration to that of their campus residence and could vote at the polls on election day if they prefer, she added.

“It is just a personal preference for each student,” Sheller said, noting that students can’t 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.”

Students are also encouraged to check the League of Women Voters’ website, vote411.org, that offers information about candidates in races across the country with the ability to tailor the information to a user’s street address. The 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,” Dick said. “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.”

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