By Alex Eng, news correspondent
The Massachusetts deadline for eligible citizens to register to vote in the presidential election is one week away and the push for voter registration is ongoing at Northeastern, but how can students register to vote?
There are three ways to register by Oct. 19—online, by mail and in person. All three methods have the same prerequisites: Voters must be U.S. citizens, Massachusetts residents and at least 18 years old on or before Election Day.
Voters may be 17 years old at the time of registration, as long as they turn 18 before Nov. 8.
Online registration can be done at the online Voter Registration website by following the on-screen instructions. This method requires that individuals have a valid driver’s license, learner’s permit or ID as well as a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
Mail-in registration requires individuals to fill out either one of two forms, the Massachusetts Mail-In Registration form or the National Voter Registration form. The form must be postmarked before Oct. 19 to the Election Department at 1 City Hall Square, Room 241 in Boston, MA 02201.
Citizens can also bring completed physical copies of forms to the Election Department Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., a City Hall to Go truck or any RMV location.
Northeastern Votes, the student-led campaign to encourage voter registration around campus, has registered approximately 500 students so far, with more than 300 filed paper forms and 200 online registrations via TurboVote, according to Elliot Horen, a Northeastern Votes spokesperson and Student Government Association (SGA) President.
“We’re making sure that days are completely occupied by volunteers [who] are tabling outside, especially towards the later, final few days,” Horen, a junior Information science and business administration major, said. He said that Northeastern Votes was working in collaboration with other organizations to coordinate volunteers to cover campus.
Once registered, individuals can find their assigned voting locations by typing their addresses into the online location registry. Voters can also submit ballots with an absentee ballot or at any point between Oct. 24 and Nov. 4 through the newly-adopted Vote Early Boston program.
Massachusetts residents are required to register to vote 20 days before the Nov. 8 general elections. The upcoming ballot will include the two presidential candidates as well as four ballot questions on gambling, charter schools, containment of certain farm animals and marijuana legalization.
The early registration website and digital platforms have been used to promote voting because it is crucial for government to function, said Boston Elections Commissioner Dion Irish.
Students are one of the most sought-after demographics, Irish said
“I urge all students to register to have an effective government for and by the people, and to have a voice in a functioning democracy,” he said.
Voter registration among Boston residents has had abysmally low turnouts in previous elections.
In the Sept. 8 state primaries, 9 percent of registered voters cast ballots in elections that unusually took place on a Thursday and contained no statewide races, according to the city’s records.
For reference, the presidential primary elections last March received ballots from 39 percent of registered voters, despite the fact that 79 percent of Boston residents were registered to vote.
“Voting is a key part of participating in democracy, which is important because decisions that are made by people in government have an effect on all of us,” said Alice Young, a senior computer science and interactive media major. “Legislation has the power to make these issues drastically better or worse, so it’s important to advocate for your position through voting.”
Northeastern Votes continues to stress the importance of student participation in the upcoming general election and has coordinated its efforts to reach more students.
“We want to make voting and registering to vote impossible to ignore,” said Horen. “We’re going to be doing more posters and more posting to make sure that it reaches everyone.”
Photo courtesy of Northeastern SGA