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Groups Insist College Students Can Vote

Anita Kumar

Three voter groups are urging the Radford registrar to fix a problem that they say will prevent eligible Radford University students from being able to cast ballots Tuesday.

The Brennan Center for Justice, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the ACLU of Virginia sent a letter after learning that local election officials have rejected registration applications for students who use their university addresses instead of their parents' home address. They say the affected applications number in the hundreds, if not the thousands.

"We are concerned that there is a pattern across Virginia of arbitrary and unlawful barriers to student voting rights, and this is a particularly bad example of it,'' said Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center. "Students have a right to vote not only in national elections, but in local elections and on the issues that affect the community where they live."

The letter states that State Board of Elections guidelines indicate that dorm room addresses are acceptable residencies for voting purposes and it encourages the registrar to allow them to cast ballots on Election Day.

By Anita Kumar  |  October 31, 2008; 5:18 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar  
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Comments

At a minimum, these students should be able to cast ballots for the presidential race.

By federal election law, every locality in the country is required to make available a special presidential-only ballot for voters who have moved into the locality after the registration deadline has closed.

The Radford registrar has violated state Elections Board guidelines, and too late for the students to register at home and vote absentee. Since they're citizens qualified to vote, and they've submitted applications before the deadline, they should not be denied their right to cast a ballot for president.

Posted by: Nell2 | November 1, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

As a student who attends Radford Univesity, maybe I can shead some light on the issue.

The students that are mentioned above did not fill out absentee ballot forms. If a student away at school wants to vote they can fill out an absentee ballot form and it will be mailed directly to their PO boxes. This is what I do every November, this is what my roommate does every November, and it's not that hard to do.

Unfortunately the students who were running the voter drive that we recently received a grant for seem to have messed up, by not properly informing these students that they must register with their legal addresses in order to vote. These students didn't follow the directions and left it to the last minute and thus have made a fatal error.

The upsetting thing about this, is that they are mistakes will be used for political gain.

No matter what anyone tells you things always seem to look different on the ground compared to the way the media paints it.

Posted by: emmaloney | November 3, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

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