If friends, family, and Lil Jon haven’t yet convinced you to register to vote or get an absentee ballot, now – yes, right now! – is the time to make a plan to vote.
If you want to vote in Middletown, you MUST re-register, even if you registered in Middletown last year! This is because your voting district and poll location are determined by your on-campus street address – NOT your mailing address at 45 Wyllys. If you have a valid DMV ID from Connecticut, the process is fast and all online, and it must be done by Tuesday, October 21. If you don’t have a valid DMV ID from Connecticut, the Registrar of Voters will need to receive your form by mail by October 21, meaning you would have had to send it today, so instead you’ll take a 10-minute stroll to the Registrar’s Office (245 deKoven Drive) to deliver it in person by Tuesday, October 28. On Election Day (November 4), the Office of Community Service will have vans running between Usdan and the various voting polls. If you hail from Connecticut and are registered for your non-Wesleyan home, you need to either vote by absentee ballot or drive to your local voting poll. (Register here!)
The registration deadline has passed in several places, including New York and Massachusetts, but there’s still time to register by mail or online in a few states, such as California. Some states are still accepting in-person registrations, so do some research if you’re heading home for fall break. Of course, if you’ve registered in another state and can’t be there on November 4, you’ll need to apply for an absentee ballot and, once you’ve received the ballot, send it so it arrives by Election Day (though this deadline changes state by state).
Election Season brings with it questions of not only how to vote but also why, especially when it comes to voting in Middletown, and especially when it comes to midterm elections. If you don’t get warm-and-fuzzies from just “fulfilling your civic duty,” here’s some food for thought that might pull you to the polls:
In the summer of 1964, over 1,000 volunteers from across the United States – many of them college students – traveled to the Deep South as a part of Freedom Summer, or the Mississippi Summer Project, to assist local civil rights workers in getting black Mississippians to the voting polls. Despite intimidation and violence from the white population, police, local authorities, and the Ku Klux Klan – including the murder of at least three activists – Freedom Summer organizers increased voter registration among African Americans, called attention to disenfranchisement, and influenced the course of the Civil Rights movement.
2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, and Wesleyan welcomes the community to celebrate the occasion together with a weekend of music, panel discussions, reflections from alumni, and more. Details after the jump:
If you haven’t yet registered to vote or don’t think you will be able to vote by absentee ballot in your home state, the Middletown registrar of voters has extended the final registration deadline because of Hurricane Sandy. You can now register to vote in person until this Thursday at 8 p.m. This means you will have to bring a completed registration form to the Office of the Registrar before that deadline.
To register to vote if you haven’t already:
- Fill out a registration form: instructions on how to do so correctly can be found here.
- Bring it to the Registrar of Voters before 8PM this Thursday — it is located behind Main St. Mall at 245 deKoven Drive, in City Hall.
- Additional information regarding the elections from the Registrar’s website can be found here.
One last reminder that tomorrow (Tuesday) is the last day to do Connecticut’s mail-in voter reregistration, i.e. the last day to have someone else deliver a registration form for you to the Registrar of Voters Office!
If you want to register in CT but don’t know where City Hall is, drop your registration form in one of the dropboxes in Usdan’s WSA office or the first floor mail window by 12PM and a Wesleyan administrator or WSA member will deliver the forms for you.
To download a registration form, go here. For complete instructions on how to fill out a registration form, read this Wesleying post.
Rock the vote, everyone!
For those of you who missed it, the WSA sent out an extensive email earlier today reminding people that the mail-in deadline to register to vote in Connecticut is this coming Tuesday, October 23rd, along with instructions on how to register to vote. Copied below the jump is the email in full.
On a more personalized note: no joke, everyone, GET OUT AND VOTE. There is more at stake in this election than just the presidential seat (think Senate, House, and future Supreme Court appointees), so whether you vote in Connecticut or your home state, your vote will matter. That being said, be an informed voter when you arrive at the polls on November 6th.
WSA Emails = TL;DR: if you haven’t registered anywhere else yet, or are still waiting on your absentee ballot, seriously consider registering to vote in Connecticut before the October 23rd mail-in deadline (or the October 30th walk-in deadline, at the latest).
Now, for instructions on how to properly get yourself registered to vote:
All those studying abroad, listen up! You can still vote in the November 2012 elections, even if you’re not in the US for this semester. You just need to get on top of your absentee ballot application ASAP. In order to help you with that, here is a message filled with great resources that Wesleying received from a fellow student last week:
Youth Vote Overseas is a site designed to inspire and assist young American voters. They offer a variety of services and voter assistance online. Students can follow them on Twitter here and “Like” them on Facebook here.
Another great resource is the Federal Voter Assistance Program, which can be found online here. The site includes links to online applications for the Federal Post Card Application as well as the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, a backup ballot available if a citizen outside the United States does not receive the regular absentee ballot from their state after having made a timely application.
For additional election-related resources, visit the “Election 2012” campaign page on NAFSA’s Connecting Our World site here.
If you need any additional help, post a comment and we will get back to you ASAP.
Many students received a letter from the Registrar of Voters today containing incorrect information about how they can remain eligible voters in the coming elections.
If you received a letter suggesting that you go to the Registrar of Voters to confirm your residential address, this is incorrect information. Students do not need to go to the Registrar this week to confirm their residency. They may go to their newly assigned polling location on election day and verbally confirm their residency there. If you are unsure about where you are voting, contact the Registrar of Voters at 860-344-3518.
Despite this confusion, be sure to get out and vote on Tuesday the 8th!
To find out more about the recent confusing, questionable election issues, click here and here and here.
Earlier today, Molly Salafia, blogger for the Middletown Eye and town candidate for Planning & Zoning, posted a lengthy Wesleying comment questioning the effects of voter registration drives at Wesleyan and imploring student voters to keep town citizens (read: not students) in mind rather than mere party affiliation. “Please be careful when you vote,” Salafia writes. “There are real families attached to every decision you make.”
I’m not sure why Salafia chose that particular comments forum, but the discussion that ensues is well worth skimming—particularly the comment from prominent M-Town voice Ed McKeon, Democratic candidate for the Board of Education (Ed 4 Ed!) and founder of the Middletown Eye. Today McKeon sends in his own plea for informed voting, arguing that “a misused vote may be worse than a non-vote.” What follows is McKeon’s guest comment in full: “Voting with the Townies.” (Let’s continue the discussion in this comments section as well.)
The Wesleyan chapter of Democracy Matters is hosting a major voting rights event on campus tomorrow night in the Woodhead Lounge. State Representatives from the Government Administration and Elections Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly will be present to hear student concerns regarding voter registration deadlines and how they systematically disenfranchise certain groups, including students, young people, minorities, and people from lower-income backgrounds.
All are invited to participate in this unprecedented opportunity to have their voices heard by real elected officials who hold the power to enact real, substantive change in the state of Connecticut.
What: Forum on Voter Registration
When: 7:15pm, Wednesday night
Where: Woodhead Lounge, Exley Science Center
Starting tomorrow afternoon, Wesleyan students will have the opportunity to spend three days registering voters in the North End, “Middletown’s last truly urban residential neighborhood” right across Washington Street. The effort will be a partnership between two local grassroots organizations, Middletown’s North End Action Team (NEAT) and Wesleyan’s chapter of the non-partisan student organization Democracy Matters. This event gives Wesleyan students the opportunity to become engaged as community partners to North End residents, as well as an opportunity to work with and get to know local Middletown High School students.
Interested students should meet up with the NEAT organizers who will operate tables in Usdan 3-5pm on the afternoons of Tuesday-Thursday, October 14-16. There you will be given voter registration materials, instructions, and walking directions to certain locations in the North End, which is only a few minutes off campus. We will be canvassing several bus stop locations in the North End alongside the members of the Teen Dreams Society, a group of Middletown High School students interested in community engagement.
Thanks to this event and the efforts of the Teen Dreams Society, North End residents will have the opportunity to participate in the most important election of our lifetimes. All Wes students looking to get engaged in the community are encouraged to attend, even if just for a few hours. Go individually or in groups!
What: Register North End Residents to Vote
Who: Wes Students, Democracy Matters, NEAT, Teen Dreams Society
Where: Get started in Usdan
When: Any time between 3pm-5pm, Tuesday-Thursday, this week
Please contact Saul Carlin of Democracy Matters with questions by e-mailing scarlin at wes.