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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Why you should register to vote in Orange County

Voters fill out their ballots at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church polling location on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Many UNC students are first-time voters.

They are part of the larger pool of youth voters — those under 30 —  which accounts for a significant demographic of the eligible voting population.  Though their participation in the democratic process could be vital, this power isn't always utilized. 

In the 2022 midterm elections, the national youth voter turnout was only 23%, meaning only 23% of eligible voters in this pool cast a ballot.

Historically, this age group votes at a lower rate than older adults. One major reason for this is the regional difficulties young people face, including geographic distance from their polling place. On top of that, young voters like UNC students don’t often feel connected to local political atmospheres because they are "transient."

The population of UNC students come from a diverse array of hometowns, whether across North Carolina or out of state.

At UNC, 17% of undergraduate students are out of state and even those who are in state could live hours away from campus

This distance makes it hard for students to go home for elections at the beginning of November, the middle of the busy midterm season. College students also may not apply for an absentee ballot because of the early deadlines and requirements needed to request one, so their power to vote goes unexercised. 

Registering to vote in Orange County — Chapel Hill’s district — as a UNC student is a positive way to combat this issue.

Not only is it important for young adults to exercise their right to vote, but the policies made by elected politicians in Chapel Hill and North Carolina, in general, will affect UNC students.

For example, in early September, the North Carolina House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would make it easier for some North Carolina residents to acquire a concealed handgun permit — a bill that is especially relevant to UNC students after we already experienced two gun-related lockdowns this year. This is just one of the issues students can use their voting power to influence.

I recently changed my voting address from my hometown to Orange County — it’s an easy task that will allow me to have a say about the policies that will be implemented around me, rather than ones that I won’t be there to experience. 

With election season coming up in less than a month, now is the time to register to vote in Chapel Hill. The decisions made now by elected officials will at least affect us in our four years here, if not for the rest of our lives.

@dthopinion |

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