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Register To Vote / Request an Absentee Ballot

Verify whether or not you’re already registered

To verify whether or not you are registered to vote and that your voter record is correct, check your status on the National Association of Secretaries of State website well in advance of your state’s voter registration deadline.

If you’re not registered or need to make changes to your registration

number 1 in circleFigure out where you want to register

You can only vote in one place so you need to decide in which state you want to vote. Students who go to school in their home state have an easy decision but out-of-state students need to figure out if they way to register back home (using their permanent address) or where they go to school (using their university address). This isn’t an easy choice to make and every student’s situation is different. Talk to your parents/guardians and learn about any potential barriers or requirements in your home state or New York by using the Campus Vote Project State Guidelines.

Other things to consider:

Local Issues: Consider if you want to participate in local elections (e.g. mayor, town supervisor, school board, local ballot initiatives, etc.). If so, do you want to participate at the local level here in Henrietta or back home? Whatever your choice, register there!

Swing State/Battleground State Status: Perhaps your home state is considered a swing or battleground state in national elections? In this case, you want to register and vote back home using your permanent address.

Ease of Absentee-Voting: Perhaps getting an absentee ballot for your home state requires extra work. In this case, you might want to forego that extra work and register and vote locally using your university address.

Post-Graduation Plans: Perhaps you’re planning on moving back home after graduation? In this case, registering and voting back home would allow you to see the long-term impact of your votes in local elections.

Number 2 in circleCheck deadlines and eligibility

Each state has different voter registration deadlines and eligibility requirements. Give yourself time to check out these requirements before registering.

We’ve curated some information for students registering in NY, PA, MA, and NJ here. We chose these states because the majority of RIT students vote in one of these four states.

http://campusvoteproject.org/studentguides/

Number 3 in circleDecide on a party affiliation

When registering to vote, you can select a political party affiliation. You can choose not to affiliate with any of the major political parties but it may prevent you from being able to participate in caucuses and primary elections. Closed primaries, for instance, are generally reserved for members of the Democratic and Republican parties to determine the candidate that will represent each group in the general election. New York is a closed primary state.

Number 4 in circleRegister to Vote

RIT students are encouraged to use TurboVote which:

  1. Helps students to register to vote either online or by paper
  2. Helps students remember upcoming elections by sending email and/or text reminders
  3. Helps students vote by mail via absentee ballot request forms

rit.turbovote.org

Pro Tips for Navigating TurboVote

  1. Where do you want to register and vote?

    You will need to decide whether you will choose to vote back home (using your permanent address) or locally (using your university address).

    If you choose to vote locally, you must use both a physical street address AND a mailing address. For students living on-campus, your physical street address can be found under Select a Residence Hall address on the TurboVote page or by visiting our Residence and Mailing Addresses page.
     
  2. Where do you receive mail?

    On this page, you can enter your RIT mailbox or off-campus apartment address to have all voting related forms and ballots sent to your university address. It’s important to have your voting-related information sent here so that you don’t miss important deadlines. If all your materials are sent back home and your parents/guardians don’t send it to you in time, you might miss the deadline for mailing your absentee ballot.
     
  3. Stamps and Envelopes?

    If you need a stamp to mail your registration form, stop by the RIT Post Office located in the Global Village to purchase one. Alternatively, you can stop by the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement located in the Campus Center (A-610) to get one for free.

    Once you have your stamp, it’s time to address your envelope. It’s important to do this correctly. Here’s an example.

Number 5 in circleIf needed, request an absentee ballot

Students who register to vote back home and cannot make it back to vote in person will need to request an absentee ballot in order to vote. Some states allow mail-in-voting without requiring a reason while others will need proof that you’re unable to make it to a local polling station.

There are typically two steps involved in order to vote absentee (once you’re already registered).
 

A: Complete and mail an absentee ballot request form. Students are encouraged to use TurboVote to complete the request form.

Massachusetts Deadline: Applications must be received by noon on the day before Election Day (November 5th, 2018). Request your application through TurboVote by October 23rd, 2018.

New Jersey Deadline: Applications must be received seven days before Election Day (October 30th, 2018). Request your Absentee Ballot application through TurboVote by October 16th, 2018.

New York Deadline: Applications must be postmarked by October 30th, 2018. Request your Absentee Ballot Application through TurboVote by October 16th, 2018.

Pennsylvania Deadline: Applications must be received by your local board of elections by October 30th, 2018. Request your Absentee Ballot Application through TurboVote by October 16th, 2018.

B: Keep an eye on your mailbox. If approved, your home state will send you an absentee ballot in the mail before Election Day. Complete it and mail it back by the deadline listed on the ballot.

Massachusetts Deadline: Completed ballots must be received by the poll closings on Election Day (November 6th, 2018).

New Jersey Deadline: Completed ballots must be received by 8pm on Election Day (November 6th, 2018).

New York Deadline: Absentee Ballots must be post marked by November 5th and received no later than November 19th.

Pennsylvania Deadline: Absentee Ballots must be received by 5pm on the Friday before the election (November 2nd, 2018).

If you need a stamp to mail your absentee ballot request form OR your actual ballot, stop by the RIT Post Office located in the Global Village to purchase one. Alternatively, you can stop by the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement located in the Campus Center (A-610) to get one for free.

Once you have your stamp, it’s time to address your envelope. It’s important to do this correctly. Here’s an example.

Number 6 in circleGo vote!

Students who live on campus and register to vote locally using their university address will vote at our new on-campus polling site located in the Polisseni Center.

Please note: Students who live in the following locations (either on or adjacent to campus) will vote at a different site.
Colony Manor: Henrietta Recreation Center
Province: Henrietta Recreation Center