As the November elections approach substantial efforts have been aimed at increasing youth voter turnout. However in recent weeks scare tactics and misinformation have led to the disenfranchisement of many young voters in important swing states such as Colorado and Virginia.
To prevent voter disenfranchisement UNC students should know their rights as well as the ease of the registration and voting process.
Registering to vote at a local address in North Carolina is perfectly legal convenient and strongly encouraged by the nonpartisan voter registration organization Democracy North Carolina.
False rumors circulated in late August by a local registrar of elections at Virginia Tech led students to believe that those who registered to vote at campus addresses could not be claimed as co-dependents on their parents' tax forms. The Internal Revenue Service quickly released a report refuting this claim as untrue.
Voter registration efforts will continue on campus until the Oct. 10 deadline. After the deadline students can visit Morehead Planetarium and Science Center to register and vote from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on business days and Saturday Oct. 25 as well as Saturday Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On election day Nov. 4 voters registered on campus will need to visit their assigned off-campus voting sites — for this reason students are encouraged to take advantage of early voting at the Morehead Planetarium.
The importance of the youth vote holds true particularly in 2008 as North Carolina is widely considered to be a swing state.
However as of Sept. 29 RealClearPolitics.com's polling data separated the two presidential candidates by less than 1 percentage point.
North Carolina's 15 electoral votes could be a deciding factor in either campaign.
In such a hotly contested election year it is important that the often-discounted youth vote surpasses historically low turnout. In order to do so UNC voters must know their rights and recognize the importance their vote could have in North Carolina.
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