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Where do I vote? A guide for out-of-town students

09/20/2012

Many Jacksonville State University students will cast their ballots for the first time in Nov., and it is now easier to register to vote.

A voter registration form for the state of Ala. can be downloaded at alabamavotes.org and mailed to the Secretary of State or the county's Board of Registrars. On-campus voter drives by groups such as the SGA and the College Democrats have been helping students register over the past few weeks. Organizations such as Rock the Vote offer online voter registration at rockthevote.com.

But what qualifications does a person need in order to become a registered voter? And are students supposed to vote in their hometowns or here in Jacksonville?

Someone at least 18 years of age by Election Day and a resident of Alabama may vote in this state. According to state law, a person who attends school in Ala. can establish residency here if he or she intends to make the Alabama school address a primary address for the time being. In other words, students can vote in their college town.

When voters arrive at the polls, they must present valid identification, such as a driver's license, U.S. passport or student ID card. A non-photo ID is also acceptable, as long as it contains the voter's name and current local address. Examples of valid non-photo identification are a Social Security card, birth certificate, paycheck or bank statement, or hunting or fishing license.

If students intend to vote in their hometown but will be at JSU on Election Day, they are allowed to vote via absentee ballot. To qualify for this privilege, registered voters must submit an application for an absentee ballot at least five days before Election Day. The absentee ballot must be returned along with a copy of identification that includes the voter's current Ala. address.

Absentee voters must also submit a signed affidavit that's either notarized or signed by two witnesses who are over 18 years old. Absentee ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by the day preceding Election Day, and absentee ballots that are hand-delivered must be received by the county election office before it closes on the day before Election Day.

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