Voter registration process clarified for students

James Vaughn

voterregistrationgraphicWith the 2012 election right around the corner, students at USI are trying to make sure their vote counts, but the registration process is causing some confusion.

“We aren’t exactly told how to register to vote, so at first it seems daunting,” said junior French major Nathan Miller.

Miller said he had to register to vote absentee because he is a Montgomery County resident who will be in school at USI on Election Day.

He realized that the registration process wasn’t confusing once he started asking questions, he said.


Students should ask their professors or someone older than them who has gone through the voting process before, he said.

“Type your questions into Google if you have to,” Miller said. “That’s what I did.”

He said he’s excited to be voting in a presidential election for the first time.

“I think it is very important for every U.S. citizen to make sure they register and then actually vote,” Miller said. “It’s imperative that we as a nation make our voices heard so that we can be properly represented.”

Chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration Mary Morris said the biggest challenge she thinks college students face is knowing where to register to vote.

According to federal law, students have the right to vote in their college towns.

This process can be tricky because of Indiana’s voter ID law which states that the address on the student’s license must match the address on their voter registration card, she said.

“My advice, if they don’t want to face a challenge at the polls – register in the county where your driver’s license is from,” Morris said. “Then vote early or vote absentee.”

Students whose address on their driver’s license or state-issued ID is located in Vanderburgh County must complete the Indiana Voter Registration form, available online. Forms can also be picked up on campus in UC East and West. 

Vanderburgh County voters may vote at any of the voting centers located throughout the county on election day.

New Bethel Church on Broadway Lane is the closest voting center to USI.

“If I were a student, I would try to vote early at the Red Bank Library,” Morris said. “That seems to be an easier place to get to.”

Students whose permanent address is outside of Vanderburgh County will need to complete an absentee ballot application once they’ve registered to vote.

Absentee ballots can be retrieved in various ways depending on which state the student is registered in.

Students who choose to vote-by-mail will receive a ballot from their home county.

To submit the vote, they should complete the ballot and mail it to the county clerk of their permanent residence.

To vote absentee-by-mail, students do not have to present a valid driver’s license or state-issued ID.

However, the State of Indiana will use the students’ digitized signature on file with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles as their voter registration signature, meaning that only students with a current driver’s license or state-issued ID will be able to vote absentee-by-mail.

Therefore, a student does have to have a current driver’s license or state-issued ID on file to vote.

Students whose permanent residence is not in Vanderburgh County can vote absentee-in-person at the county election board office beginning Oct. 9. You must present a photo ID if you decide to vote absentee-in-person. Indiana voter registration and absentee applications are available on campus.


Indiana (Vanderburgh County resident):

• be a citizen of the United States

• have lived in the precinct at least 30 days before the next election

• be at least 18 years old on the day of the next general election • not currently be in jail for a criminal conviction

Registration deadline: Oct. 9

Absentee application deadline (if you can’t be in your hometown on election day): Oct. 29



• be a citizen of the United States

• be a resident of Illinois and of your election precinct at least 30 days before the next election

• be at least 18 years old on or before the next election

• not be in jail for a felony conviction

• not claim the right to vote anywhere else

Registration deadline: Oct. 10

Absentee application deadline: Nov. 1

Absentee ballots are available online at

Note: A person may request and vote absentee without specifying a reason for the absence from the polling place on Election Day.



• be a citizen of the United States

• be a resident of Kentucky

• be 18 years of age on or before the next general election

• not be a convicted felon or if you have been convicted of a felony, your civil rights must have been restored by executive pardon

• not have been judged “mentally incompetent” in a court of law

• not claim the right to vote anywhere outside Kentucky

Kentucky Registration deadline: Oct. 9

Absentee application deadline: Oct. 30

Kentucky prepares a personalized absentee ballot application for every voter who wishes to vote absentee. Contact your county clerk and ask them to mail an absentee ballot application to you.

All voters:

• You must present a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot at the polls on Election Day. Voters voting absentee-by-mail are NOT required to show photo ID.

• The absentee application must be sent to your election authority for the jurisdiction for which you are registered.