When sophomore Preeyanka Rao moved to Chapel Hill from New Jersey, she immediately changed her voter registration.
“My area has implemented policies that I agree with by large majority, and that isn’t necessarily true of Orange County or the state,” she said.
Midterm election season is coming up, and that means out-of-state students will have to decide how they want to vote — which can be a difficult and complicated process.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1979 during Symm v. United States allows students to use their residential school address when registering to vote even if it isn’t their permanent address. Despite this ruling, out-of-state students might still be unsure of the best voting method for them.
Out-of-state students who plan to vote in an election while at UNC face a decision: update their registration to their school’s location or use an absentee ballot from their home state.
Students who transfer their registration to their Chapel Hill address often do so because they feel their vote will have more of an impact in North Carolina than it does in their home state.
Sophomore Owen Stoneking hasn’t yet registered, but he intends to using his Orange County address. Stoneking said that his home state, Illinois, will likely vote Democratic, so he decided he would make more of a difference with his vote in North Carolina.
“Here is a lot closer to a swing state, so my vote will potentially matter more,” he said.
Other students, like sophomore Gabrielle Zuckerman from Florida, feel their vote matters more in their home state than in Orange County and choose to use absentee ballots.