KEENE – If you are a college student confused about how to vote in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9, you are not alone.
Samantha Sottile, 21, a Keene State College senior, wondered how to register.
“I am not too sure how to go about voting because I am not a resident of New Hampshire,” said Sottile.
It can be confusing, but the New Hampshire Secretary of State has a section on college student voting on its website that can clear things up for you. See here: http://goo.gl/aWYzCu
And ACLU-NH has held some campus seminars to help students figure out how to register to vote.
A presentation by Christina Gibson of the ACLU-NH and NextGen Climate at Keene State College on Wednesday explained that students can register to vote in the town where they live while attending college even if they are from another state as long as they turn 18 on or before the Feb. 9 primary.
All people can register with their local town clerk until 10 days before an election or at the polls on election day.
If a Keene State College student wishes to vote in Keene, for instance, all he or she has to do is go to the polls on election day and register to vote using either a driver’s license (in or out-of-state) or a student ID card. The student can then claim domicile.
The Secretary of State’s website defines domicile as: “… one place where a person, more than any other place, has established a physical presence and manifests an intent to maintain a single continuous presence for domestic, social, and civil purposes relevant to participating in democratic self-government.”
According to Gibson’s presentation, if students do not have a photo ID, they can go to the polls and sign an affidavit saying they are telling the truth about their identity. Then a person working at the polls will take a picture of the student, which will be destroyed later on.
Also, according to the students of NextGen, college students are also allowed to vote absentee from their hometown or city if they go to college in another state.
They can obtain an absentee ballot by requesting it from their home state. Deadlines to obtain absentee ballots vary so it would be wise to check with the city clerk and ask about deadlines.
Not all states allow same-day voter registration. Here is a link detailing which states allow it: http://goo.gl/hJN4m4
Noelle Rossini is a senior at Keene State College who is interning this semester at InDepthNH.org. Rossini is an English literature and writing major from Boston. She is a member of the Keene State College Dance Team, which is ranked 9th in the nation. Next year, Rossini plans to attend law school.