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November midterms are approaching quickly, which means local elections, state Congress, U.S. House representatives, some U.S. Senate representatives, some governors and many other positions will be on the ballot.

There are 17 million undergraduate students enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States, so college students have the ability to make a significant difference in midterm elections.

However, voting can be confusing and difficult for college students since many are now living in a different city, or even state, than their hometown.

There are two options to voting as a college student:

  • Vote by mail: If you’re registered in your hometown, which is not the same county in which you go to college, you can vote by mail
  • Vote in person: If you’re registered in your hometown, you can travel back to vote in person or you can register in the county you go to college and vote in person there

Voting by mail:

If you are registered in your hometown and are attending school in another county, you can vote with an absentee ballot that you must request ahead of time.

Voting in person:

You can register to vote in the new county that you live in for college using your college home address. It’s illegal to be registered to vote in more than one county, so if you’re already registered in your hometown then your voter registration will completely change over to your college address.

You can find in person registration on your college campus, or print, sign and mail in a registration form found online — look up register to vote in [your state]. If you don’t have access to a printer, you can have a registration form mailed to you, which you can also look up online. Many states also allow you to register online, although Texas does not.

Most colleges will have voting sites on campus during early voting and on Election Day, or you can look up the closest polling locations outside of campus.

Registration requirements

To register to vote in Texas, you must be:

  • A United States citizen
  • A resident of the county where you submit the application
  • At least 17 years and 10 months old on the date your voter registration application is submitted and at least 18 years old on Election Day (for this election cycle, November 8)
  • Not a convicted felon, although you may be eligible to vote if you have completed your sentence, probation and parole
  • You have not been declared by a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote

Requirements will be similar but may vary by state.

You also need some form of ID to register to vote and to bring when voting in person. The options for Texas are:

  • Texas Driver License issued by DPS
  • United States passport
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas Handgun License issued by DPS
  • United States Military Identification Card containing your photograph
  • United States Citizenship Certificate containing your photograph

ID requirements will be similar but may vary by state.

Find a voter registration guide for your state HERE.

Isabella is a journalism freshman at the University of Texas at Austin.
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