Monday, March 7, 2011

Voting and college.

A few months after I left Milwaukee to go to college in Connecticut, I turned 18 and immediately registered to vote. When local elections approached the next fall, I took them very seriously. I read the voters’ guide in the local paper and chose candidates—from dogcatcher to mayor—one by one. Some were Democrats, some Republicans.

Every single one of them lost. It was a bummer, but I got to vote! I lived in Connecticut, so I voted in Connecticut. I went to the doctor in Connecticut; I spent my money in Connecticut; when I got a car, I registered it in Connecticut. I never again went back to Milwaukee for more than a few days at a time.

So why would I vote in Wisconsin?

The new bills preventing young Americans from voting where they live don’t make sense to me. Reporters who cover colleges in these states should attempt to figure out whether they make sense to the students either. Certainly college students remain more entwined with life back home, and their parents, than we were two decades ago. Maybe the bulk of them vote absentee anyway, or do not vote at all. But that isn’t what this is about, is it?

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