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As Election Day approaches, students who are voting in their first presidential race can find it difficult–even deterring–to register to vote, particularly in light of the long lines at April’s primary election.
“It took a solid few hours just for the primaries,” said Rachel Garcia, sophomore in the College of Health Sciences. “So imagine what it would be like when it actually came down to voting for the president–it’d be even longer.”
While students can register to vote at the polls on Election Day, early registration is also available by mail, special registration deputy or at their municipal clerk’s office.
Early Voter Registration
To counter the long lines at April’s primary election, Marquette is offering students early voter registration at the Alumni Memorial Union weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Students will be able to register for voting through Wednesday, Oct. 19, which is the last day Wisconsin voters can register in advance. Early voter registration at Marquette is led by special registration deputies, who are trained volunteers who register voters.
“We are trying to make this as easy as possible for Marquette students,” Mary Czech-Mrochinski, associate vice president for public affairs, said in an email. “Some students do not realize that if they are originally from out of Wisconsin that they are able to vote in Wisconsin on Election Day as long as they meet the residency and other requirements.”
To register to vote, proof of residence, a social security number and Wisconsin driver’s license or Wisconsin Department of Transportation-issued ID are required. Voters can provide the last four digits of their social security number if they do not have a Wisconsin driver’s or Wisconsin DOT-issued ID.
Proof of residence must state that the individual has lived in Wisconsin for at least 10 days. A driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement, copy of housing lease, or a student ID with proof of enrollment are the most commonly used identifications to prove residence.
Students can also register to vote by mail through myvote.wi.gov, at their municipal clerk’s office, or at the poles on Election Day.
Joe Czarnezki, Milwaukee County Clerk, said students should be more prepared to engage in the civic process.
“I would encourage everyone to register to vote ahead of time because that will avoid the long lines of election day” Czarnezki said.
Photo ID is not required for voter registration, but is needed to vote.
If Marquette students are not from the city of Milwaukee, they can choose to register to vote absentee in their hometown or state. They can either register online or at their municipal clerk’s office. Every state differs on how to register to vote.
“Some people make that decision on where they think their vote will count most,” Czarnezki said. “Wisconsin is likely to be a competitive state.”
Garcia said she registered to vote in her home state of Illinois.
“I feel that it’s harder to register to vote (at Marquette) because I don’t live here,” Garcia said. “I feel like there are different rules for students and I know that when I tried to vote for the primaries I couldn’t do it because there were so many people.”
After registering to vote in their hometown or state, students will need to request an absentee ballot. Students must email or submit a letter to their municipal clerk’s office including name, residence address, mailing address, date of birth, requested election date and copy of photo ID.
Despite various opinions on how to register to vote, experts agree that students should participate in the upcoming election.
“I think that there are things that are very important and voting is one of them,” Czarnezki said. “The government is spending your money—you’d out to have a say in who is doing that.”