Boston is an incredible hub of arts, culture, ideas, and innovation; another thing Boston is known for is its students. Boston has been regarded as the “Athens of the West” because of its massive collection of respected college and universities. Did you know there are more than 100 colleges and universities in the greater Boston area, with more than 250,000 students attending schools in Boston and Cambridge alone? So why aren’t these students congregating together to make a better Boston?
For whatever reason, voter registration is not in the forefront of most college students’ minds; and those few students who are registered to vote have not even thought to change their addresses to be eligible to vote in their college community. Students need to understand that they are apart of their college community, and our great city. The U.S. Census Bureau considers students residents of their college communities, so why shouldn’t they?
College students contribute to their college community in numerous ways including volunteer work, employment, and bolstering the local economy. In the city of Boston, students contribute an estimated $4.8 billion annually to the city’s economy (after all, each student lives in Boston for 9-12 months out of the year, for at least 4 years).
Students already have a vested interest in local issues including off-campus housing, transportation, the environment, taxes, and personal safety. So they should have a voice in these issues. They should register to vote. But don’t blame them entirely; voter registration information is not as accessible as it should be.
Here are the facts: You may register to vote in Massachusetts if you are a United States citizen, 18 years old on or before Election Day, and are a resident of Massachusetts. What is commonly misunderstood is that your new school or apartment address can be used to be a registered voter in Massachusetts. And if you are new to the city, and you have already registered to vote in your home state, you must register again.
You could mail in your voter registration (the online form can be found here: http://bit.ly/pvBSZF) but the easiest way to register is to visit a local town clerk’s office. Locations can easily be found here: http://bit.ly/nQuhcW. All you will need is identification. Acceptable identification would be a driver’s license, photo identification, a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check. If you are a student attending a Boston college or university, who has a driver’s license from another state, you must bring your out-of-state drivers license and school ID (that has the school’s address on it) to the town clerk’s office.
Anyone interested in voting in the municipal election in Boston has until October 19th to register. Please do!