BY SAVANNAH KEYSER, CCHS SENIOR
The U.S. midterm elections this year will be held on November 6, 2018. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 100 seats in the Senate will be up for reelection. Currently, both legislative houses are Republican-dominated, along with the executive branch, represented by President Donald Trump.
The recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) tragedy has sparked discussion concerning high school students who will have just turned 18 in November and are eligible to vote. Teenagers and young adults have become passionate about registering to vote and heading to the polls this year in the hopes of making a change. However, many of these students may be moving away from home in the fall for college at a four-year university, and are concerned that they won’t get the chance to cast their ballot. Not to worry, though: There is always a way to exercise one’s right to vote.
The most important step in voting is actually making sure one is eligible to vote. According to RegistertoVoteFlorida.gov, in order to be eligible, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States of America;
- Be a legal resident of Florida;
- Be a legal resident of the county in which you seek to be registered;
- Be at least 16 years old to pre-register or at least 18 years old to register and vote;
- Not be a person who has been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without having the right to vote restored;
- Not be a person who has been convicted of a felony without your civil rights having been restored.
You are able to register to vote as soon as you turn 16; however, you cannot actually vote until turning 18.
Know that any attempts to register to vote if you are not a U.S. citizen can result in heavy punishment. The state may look to press criminal charges, deny your citizenship application or immigration benefits and even deport you from the U.S.
Log on to https://vote.gov/ and select the state in which you would like to register. For many of those reading, the state will be Florida. Continue to follow the steps laid out on the website. It is possible to register to vote in person or by mail.
For those students who do plan on going out of state for college, they have the option of deciding whether to register to vote in Florida or their new home. That decision is up to the individual as long as they possess a permanent or temporary address in the state of one’s choice. Just know being registered in more than one place is not allowed. Many people with the option to register to vote in multiple places tend to choose swing states, since their vote will have more of an impact than on a historically Republican or historically Democrat state.
If a student has pre-registered to vote in Cooper City, their polling location will be that of Cooper City Hall. In the event that they are not living in the Cooper City polling area in November because they have moved away to a different area or state, they have the option to vote early by mail and represent Cooper City. There is always the option to change one’s information to reflect a new polling location, however, if they do not feel comfortable voting by mail by re-registering with one’s college address.
In Florida, one must be registered 29 days in advance to vote in an upcoming election. Do not wait until the last minute to register.
On voting day, visit your designated polling area and bring one of the following identification cards:
- Florida driver’s license
- Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
- United States passport
- Debit or credit card
- Student identification
For more information on voter registration and voting while at college visit the following websites:
Photo by Sabrine Brismeur