Student voter registration (needs headline)

For many students, elections regarding anything other than the presidential primaries are of little to no interest for them, according to deputy directors of voter registration. These directors believe that many who are well over the voting age opt out of voting for any local representatives, while others have not even considered registering.

Terrie Nielson, deputy director of Portage County Ohio’s department of voter registration, predicts that the number of student voters for the upcoming local election will be low.

“This election we don’t expect to see a lot of students voters because there aren’t a lot of big issues,” Nielson said. 

The election in Portage County introduces issues such as taxes on roads and bridges, school districts and neglected children as well as the removal of former council members.

Nielson feels as though there could be multiple reasons as to why she expects so few college students to vote.

“Students may find it intimidating to vote, especially if they do not know what the issues are or who to vote for,” Nielson said, “They may not exactly be sure what the process is or how to go about it.”

Voting in Portage County starts Oct. 8 but there is still time to register up until Oct. 7. Those who would like to register can do so online at or the Secretary of State’s website. Any public library, high school or DMV also provides these services.

If a student’s permanent address is outside of Portage County, they can still register to vote in Kent, as long as they have not previously registered anywhere else. 

For those who have not registered and live elsewhere such as Pennsylvania and would rather vote by absentee for their home address will also have until Oct. 7 to register and can do so online at 

An absentee ballot is a paper ballot sent by mail in place of a standard in-person vote on election day. There are restrictions in order to vote by absentee; such as living away from home for college, having a physical disability, or serving in the military. 

It is possible to apply for an absentee ballot online or by filling out a paper application and mailing it to a County Election Office. 

Students also have the option to vote through a provisional ballot, though the provisional ballot applies only for those whose permanent homes are still in the state of Ohio. 

A provisional ballot is for those who have previously registered to vote, however their name is simply not on the voter roster at the designated polling place.

David Voye, director of elections division manager in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, emphasized how important all elections are, especially for students.

“You may be students now, but these are the people that will be dealing with important aspects of your life such as your student loans or your taxes in the near future,” Voye said.

Junior sports administration major Elaine Bradlee is not registered to vote for larger reasons than lack of interest. 

“I’m not registered to vote because I know that politics plays a crucial role in today’s society and affects our everyday lives and our futures, but it causes too much tension between people,” Bradlee said.

Nielson however feels as though the tension is minuscule in relation to the larger impact voting entails.

“There are so many countries where people do not have the right to vote so it is so important to exercise the right that we as Americans all have,” Nielson said.

For those who are confused or would like to know more about the representatives and issues in their ballot are able to log on to By typing in a zip code, this website will provide information with all of the local candidates and issues. 

The site also contains a list of the candidates ages, the party they belong to and questions and answers from previous interviews or debates.

“They think they won’t make a difference, and it just isn’t true,” Nielson said. “It is really important to vote whether it’s local or national because so many of our decisions come down to a small number of votes.”

Contact Lauryn Oglesby at [email protected]