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Student voters have options

October 4, 2012

STONE

 

ALLISON EAST
Staff Reporter

 

Forgotten microwaves, T-shirts and photos probably merit a phone call back home upon a student’s return to Ruston, but another item often left behind is usually tossed aside and quickly forgotten.

 

According to Campus Vote Project’s website, “Over a quarter of college students reported in 2010 that they did not register to vote because they did not know where or how to register or they missed the deadline.”

 

Voter registration cannot be packed in a suitcase or thrown in the backseat, but it can move with students as easily as their favorite blanket.

 

Dianna Stone, registrar of voters for Lincoln Parish, said students attending college in the parish have two options to help bring their right to vote along for the ride.

 

“They can register here in Lincoln Parish by Oct. 9. –– That’s what all the Grambling students are doing –– or they can request a ballot by mail.”

 

Josh Wilson, a junior math and physics major, would have to travel to Baton Rouge to vote in his home parish, so he chose the first option as a way to cut down on driving and to make an impact on his community.

 

“My freshman year I got an email from the SGA saying that Ruston really wasn’t a college town,” Wilson said. “It said if we register to vote here and we start voting for city policies maybe it could become more of a college town. That really prompted me to register.”

 

Andrew Touchet, a sophomore physics major, plans to take the second route.

 

“I think I’m going to do an absentee ballot because I’m not sure how to set up registration here,” he said. “I’m registered to vote in Iberia. I’m supposed to get a registration card in the mail, and I have to present that when I apply for absentee voting.”

 

With a hometown four hours away and a strong desire to vote, Touchet took time to research the process of absentee voting.

 

“I’ve been looking within the last three days, and it really wasn’t hard to find information,” Touchet said. “I haven’t quite found the entire solution yet.”

 

Stone said two websites make it relatively easy to find information. Students can go to www.geauxvote.com or www.sos.la.gov to check their status or seek answers.

 

Stone said few Tech students choose to change their voter registration to Lincoln Parish.

 

“At Grambling, they always register here––hundreds and hundreds,” she said. “At Tech, not so much.”

 

If students do not wish to change their registration, Stone said they should make absentee voting a priority.

 

“They need to vote,” Stone said. “They need to be aware of their own situation. I get a lot of calls from mothers wanting to know if their child has registered yet. If you are 18 years old, take care of your own business. If you’re interested in your future you need to find out about the candidates and make an informed decision.”

 

Touchet said students should look up the easily accessible information and turn out to vote.

 

“I consider it a civil duty in the end,” he said. “If you don’t care what’s going on in your society but you’re going to complain about it, you’re creating your own problem.”

 

Lincoln Parish voters will have several things on the ballot besides the president. Stone said the district five representative, a school board term limit and nine statewide constitutional amendments are also up to vote.

 

Students have until Oct. 9 to register to vote in Lincoln Parish or until Nov. 1 to apply for an absentee ballot. It is a simple online process and takes about as much time as calling back home about a forgotten shoe.

 

Email comments to ace007@latech.edu.

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