For most undergraduate students at Roger Williams, the 2012 election on November 6 will be the first opportunity to exercise the right to vote. From freshmen who just turned 18 to seniors who have been waiting nearly four years, RWU student voters will mark a major milestone when they cast ballots a few months from now.
Still, the electoral process can be confusing – especially for students attending college out state. Staff from the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement will be available throughout election season to answer any questions and address concerns students may have.
And Feinstein Center director KC Ferrara couldn’t be more enthusiastic about getting students to vote.
“The simplest way for a student to become an active and engaged citizen is to vote,” Ferrara says, pointing to RWU’s core value of commitment to community through service and sustainability. “The issues are their issues – if they want to expect jobs, if they want funding for education, they have to vote.”
From voter registration to polling locations to casting absentee ballots, the folks at the Feinstein Center will guide students through the process to ensure that every vote counts.
Ferrara also advises that students educate themselves about the candidates and key campaign issues so that they make informed decisions when voting. For those not sure where to start, Ferrara recommends reading and watching the news and visiting official candidate and political party websites.
“With some research and critical thinking about the platforms and issues, you can make an informed decision and vote accordingly,” she says.
For those ready to register, the following paragraphs offer some key information on voter registration and the voting process:
When and where can I register to vote?
You can register to vote at the Feinstein Center any Monday through Friday between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Registration tables will also be open on the following dates:
- Sept. 12, 2012 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Involvement Fair
- Sept. 17, 2012 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Dining Commons
- Sept. 24, 2012 – 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Feinstein Center
The deadline to vote in the November 6 election is October 7, 2012.
The deadline to vote in the September 11 R.I. primary has passed. You may only vote in the R.I. primary if you are already registered to vote in R.I.
I have already registered to vote by absentee ballot at home – should I register in R.I.?
No – go ahead and vote by absentee ballot at home, but don’t forget to do it!
Will registering to vote in R.I. affect my financial aid award?
Registering in R.I. will ONLY AFFECT STATE GRANTS you receive (N.H., Mass., Me., Conn., Vt. and Penn. only). It will not affect any federal monies or scholarships. If you have any questions about this, consult the Financial Aid Office or your parents.
Where will I vote if I register in R.I.?
Students living on the main campus will vote on campus in the North Residence Hall. Students living at Baypoint will vote in Portsmouth and will be advised of their polling place by mail from the Portsmouth Town Clerk’s Office. Students living at Almeida or other off campus addresses will be advised of their polling place by mail from the Bristol Town Clerk’s Office.
How should I fill in the Home Address line if I register in R.I.?
You must register to vote with your actual street address.
- If you live on the main Bristol campus: 1 Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809.
- If you live at Almeida: 201 Bayview Avenue, Bristol, RI 02809.
- If you live at Baypoint: 144 Anthony Road, Portsmouth, RI 02871
- If you live off campus, use your complete off-campus address.
How do I fill in the Mailing Address line?
If you have an RWU mailbox, put your usual mailing address, including the box number, regardless of where you actually live. If you receive mail at another location, like an off-campus apartment, you must put that address. The town clerk will verify your residency and mail a confirmation card to you. If the card is “returned to sender,” your registration will be nullified.
Should I declare a party affiliation?
That choice is yours but know this: Your party affiliation is binding in the primary but NOT in the General Election on November 6. Remember that “Independent” is an actual political party. If you consider yourself as not having a party preference, you should indicate “Unaffiliated” (Question #9).
What do I need to bring with me on voting day?
You must bring picture identification to the polling place. A driver’s license from your home state is acceptable. At the polling place, when asked if you are a R.I. resident, you must answer “yes.”