The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Students weigh in on voting

Youth voter turnout has been historically low in the United States.
Youth voter turnout has been historically low in the United States.

Youth voter turnout has been historically low in the United States. (AP)

A number of students will be casting their first ballots in the November presidential election. As Election Day approaches, students are finding themselves unsure of what they need to do in order to make sure their vote counts. Uncertainty about both the candidates and the process is turning some away from the polls.

“I am not participating because I do not care for either candidate and I haven’t registered to vote. I also have no idea how to get an absentee ballot,” SMU junior Ross Peets said.

If it is one’s first time voting in a presidential election, one might ask, “Why should I even vote?” College students represent a population known to shift an election. Every student comes from a different background and usually identifies with one of the two parties. But when voting, it’s important to think beyond party lines and consider your life after graduation. Whoever you vote for, their policies will have a very large impact on where you will go when you depart from SMU.

“Students are absolutely important in American elections. One of the things that helped President Obama get elected in 2008 was strong support and voter turnout among college students,” Matthew Wilson, an SMU political science professor, said. “Trying to duplicate that level of support in 2012 is one of the key emphases of his campaign.”

The last day to register to vote was Oct. 9.

“The registration deadline is always 30 days prior to the election,” Laura Granado, from the Dallas County Election Department, said.

 Students do not fret. There is still time left to make your mark.
“Being passive or apathetic only negatively impacts the country. Further, being properly informed on the voting process would increase voter participation and awareness,” SMU junior Kevin McClendon said.

Texas student residents still have a few options. Granado said students can visit the department website at to download and print a registration application. Students can also visit local post offices, libraries or the Dallas County Election Department Office for on-site applications.

“It takes about a minute to fill out. But, it must be mailed back to our main office because it requires a signature,” Granado said.

In order to register, you must provide a Texas driver’s license number or a personal identification number issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. You may also use the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have any of these numbers, you must state that in the designated area on the application.

If students register to vote in Texas, and choose to vote on the actual voting day, Nov. 6, they must go to their assigned precinct. Precinct assignments can be found on the Dallas County website listed above.

Students living away from home have options for how and where they choose to vote. SMU junior Samantha Williams went through a different process to register.

“I registered for an absentee ballot as a Republican in the state of Arizona,” Williams said. “It was super easy. I just went online and filled out a form.”

Alicia Philips Pierce, the deputy communications director for the Texas Secretary of State, said students can’t be registered to vote in both their home state and Texas.

“If you consider your parents’ address to be your permanent residence, you may use that address as your registration address. If you would like to register to vote at your college address, you may do so,” Pierce said.

Early voting is available for both in-state and out-of-state students from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2.

“There are 29 early voting locations spread out through Dallas County and they can vote in any of those locations,” Granado said.

The early voting process involves a student casting a ballot by mail. You must request an early voting ballot to be sent to your college address or wherever you will be during election time. Early voting by mail is also offered for students who are registered at his or her parents’ residence and will be away from that county at the time of the election. To apply for a ballot by mail, visit

Pierce said, “the last day for the early voting clerk to receive an application for a ballot to be voted by mail for the November election is Oct. 30.”

With the information you need to register available online, there’s a way to vote for what you want to see in the future.

“With this economy and our job situation, our president is in charge of the growth or demise of the jobs we will be having in less than four years. I don’t follow politics that much, but I want my opinion to be heard,” Williams said. “To me every vote counts.” 

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