Unless you live an unplugged life, it is hard not to know that there is an election Tuesday.
On Nov. 6, millions of Americans will go to the polls to elect governors, senators, legislators and mayors, among others. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. St. Cloud’s Ward 1, Precinct 1 votes on campus in Atwood Memorial Center.
Historically, midterm elections have a considerably lower voter turnout than elections with a presidential race. And, the college student vote is among the lowest of any demographic group.
“Sitting this election out will not be interpreted as a political statement against the status quo – it will be seen as apathy, laziness or a desire to let other people choose for you,” said Jim Cottrill, St. Cloud State political science professor.
Cottrill highlights why mid-terms matter:
- We elect legislators, where state lawmaking happens
- We elect local and state officials, who make decisions that affect our daily lives
- Our voting results are a check on the president, whose party may lose or gain seats in Congress
The State of Minnesota allows same-day voter registration and absentee ballot submission. If St. Cloud is not your permanent residence, a vote can still be cast here.
To register the day of the election, proof of residence such as a driver’s license, lease agreement or utility bill will need to be presented. Absentee ballots must be received no later than Election Day to be counted.
Cottrill has a few voting tips for students:
- You can leave a selection blank if you have no preference or do not know anything about the candidate. Doing so does not invalidate the ballot.
- Allow about 10 minutes to vote if you are already registered. If you need to register, it will take a little longer.
- Lines will be longest during rush-hour times. If you can go in the middle of the day, you will likely have little to no wait time.