Editorial: Students should consider changing voter registration to Illinois

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern students from all 50 states migrate to Evanston and usually live here for at least nine months out of the year, giving us the right to register to vote as a resident of Evanston and of Illinois. If we register, we can vote in everything from local aldermanic elections to senator and governor races.

There is a large segment of voters, however, who are registered to vote in other areas of the country. Many students choose to register in the city they grew up in, for a variety of reasons. Today, the last day that residents can register to vote, The Daily asks that you think long and hard about which state you decide to offer your vote to, because it does make a difference.

We understand the many reasons for not switching your residential allegiance to Illinois – students grew up in their hometowns, they may know local politicians, their parents may want them to vote for a certain candidate, their home states may have critical elections this year and they may only live in Evanston for four years.

We offer you one counterpoint to consider: You live in Evanston. You pay taxes and utilities here, you shop and get parking tickets here and you have to listen to campaign ads here.

It may seem pointless due to your short, four-year stay. But consider that 1. Many NU students stay in the Chicago area after they graduate and 2. You may spend less than four years in the city where you take your first job, or second job, etc.

Registering in Illinois doesn’t make you permanently bound to vote as an Illinois resident. So while the idea of changing where you vote may not have crossed your mind, consider how your voter registration affects you and whether hometown loyalties are worth silencing your voice in your adopted home.

As mentioned, regular voter registration in Illinois for the upcoming midterm elections ends today. If you haven’t registered (or changed your voter address) there is still time: the Center for Civic Engagement at 1813 Hinman Ave. will guide you through the registration process anytime from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Regardless of what state you decide to register for, please register to make your voice heard.

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