Voting 101: Where and How You Can Vote, and Why You Should

From figuring out what address to register to requesting absentee ballots, voting in college can be a very overwhelming process. Read below to learn about the voting process!


How to Register in Virginia

To be eligible to vote in Virginia, you must meet a few requirements. You must be a resident of Virginia, a citizen of the United States, and you must be 18 years old at the time of the next general election. If you meet these requirements, you can submit a voter registration application online, if you have a valid Virginia driver’s license. If you do not have a valid Virginia driver’s license, you can submit a paper application to your local registration office. The closest Voter Registration office to Virginia Tech is located at the Montgomery County Government Center at 755 Roanoke Street, Suite 1F, Christiansburg, 24073.


How to Register if You're Not from Virginia

If you are not a Virginia resident and would like to register with your address from another state, you will need to register on your state’s election website or mail in a paper application. College students are able to register with either their university address or their permanent address. This means if you are in a dorm or off campus, you are able to register with your address at Virginia Tech. It is important to note that you can only be registered to vote under one address.


In-Person Voting in Blacksburg

If you are registered to vote in Virginia, you can vote in person on election day at a local polling place. Voters are able to look up their polling location two to four weeks before election day on the Virginia Department of Elections website. You will need a valid ID to vote in person on election day (your Hokie Passport is a valid form of ID in Virginia).


Absentee Ballots

For college students who are registered to vote in their home state, they are able to vote by absentee ballot. You may apply for an absentee ballot on the department of elections website in any state. You can also submit a paper absentee ballot application by mailing it to your local registration office. Each state has their own policy on returning absentee ballots. While most states will accept absentee ballots by mail, some states will also accept absentee ballots that are dropped off at your nearest election office.


Upcoming Election Schedules

This year, election day for all 11 congressional seats will be on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. If you are voting by absentee ballot, your ballot must be postmarked on or before election day in order to be counted. The deadline to register to vote is October 17, 2022. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 28, 2022.


For more information about registering and voting in Virginia, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.


For more information about registering and voting outside of Virginia, visit Vote411.org.


Why Should You Vote?

As college students, we often take the right to vote for granted. Some students may feel that their vote doesn’t count, but many recent elections have been decided by a few votes. Our votes as college students can make a significant difference in elections and give us the opportunity to have our voices heard. Elections also often have a direct impact on our lives. From student loans to state aid, elections impact a variety of aspects of our lives as students, so it is important that we do our research and have our voices heard on those issues. Additionally, it has been 102 years since women were granted the right to vote in the United States. For many years, women were not able to have a say in policies decided by our lawmakers. There are still some places around the world where women don’t have the right to vote. We have the privilege of being able to do so and it is not only our right but our civic responsibility to do so.



By: Katie Smith