Campus Vote Project
As you are well aware, 2012 is a presidential election year in the United States, and for many of you this may be your very first opportunity to vote in a national presidential election. To do so, you must first register to vote.
If you turn 18 on or before November 6, 2012, you are eligible to vote in the presidential election. You need to register now, even if your 18th birthday is 11/6/12.
The last day to register to vote in Tennessee for the fall elections is Mon., Oct. 8, 2012. In-person registration at county election commission offices ends at the end of the business day 10/8/12, and all mail-in registration applications must be postmarked no later than 10/8/12.
Thatís just a month into the fall semester. Register now!
Who may register?
Individuals may register to vote if they
- Are a U.S. citizen;
- Will be 18 years of age on/or before the next election;
- Are a resident of Tennessee;
- Have not been convicted of a felony or, if convicted, had voting rights restored by a court order or pardon.
All four must be applicable for you to apply for registration.
Your first decision is, where do you want to vote? That determines where you will register.
- If you moved to Tennessee from out of state to go to school, you may want to vote absentee in your home state. If so, you will need to be directly in touch, right away, with your local county election commission of your home town to learn your stateís voting requirements. Ask about both registration and your stateís rules for absentee balloting.
- If you moved to Tennessee from out of state, you may choose to become a Tennessee resident, get a Tennessee driverís license, and register and vote in Tennessee for the duration of your education.
- If you commute to MTSU from another county, or even if you live here but still consider yourself a resident of your home county and wish to maintain voting registry at home, remember that you must travel back to your home county to vote Ė on the day of Tues., Nov. 6, or at some point during the weeks of early voting, Oct. 17ĖNov. 1, 2012. Check your home countyís election commission website for hours and days when the polls are open.
- If you moved to Murfreesboro from another state or another Tennessee county but now reside in Rutherford County, you may register and vote in Rutherford County for as long as you live in Rutherford County.
Rutherford County Election Commission (http://www.rutherfordcountytn.gov/election/) welcomes MTSU students to register in Rutherford County and to participate in local, county, state and national elections.
How do you get registered in Tennessee?
To vote in elections in the State of Tennessee, you must be registered at least 30 days prior to the election date. This fall, the registration deadline is Mon., Oct. 8, for the entire state of Tennessee.
You must neatly and legibly fill out an Application for Voter Registration. You may print one from online or you may get a hard copy on campus. (Email the American Democracy Project at firstname.lastname@example.org for where to pick up an official Application for Voter Registration).
The application form is short and straightforward, but can generate some confusions.
- If you are choosing to register in another Tennessee county, for example, Wilson County, your "Address Where You Live" must be in Wilson County, your "Address Where You Get Your Mail" must be in Wilson County. Your return address on the mailer envelope must be your Wilson County mailing address, and you will mail your application to the Wilson County Election Commission at the proper election commission address in Lebanon. Put a stamp on the envelope. (The list of all county election commission addresses can be found on the website of the Tennessee Department of State, Division of Elections.)
- If you are registering in Rutherford County and live in an apartment, your "Address Where You Live" will be your apartment address. You may or may not also have an MTSU post office box that might be your "Address Where You Get Your Mail." Your return address on the mailer envelope will be the same as the address where you get your mail, and you will address the Application for Voter Registration to the Rutherford County Election Commission, 1 Public Square South, Rutherford County Bldg. Rm. 103, Murfreesboro, TN 37130-8001. Put a stamp on the envelope and mail it. Or, you can personally deliver the application to the election commission office on town square. The Rutherford County Election Commission is not located inside the courthouse. Instead, itís located in one of the old historic storefront buildings facing the courthouse. Driving to the square from East Main Street, the Election Commission is on the left of the square, the south side.
- If you are registering in Rutherford County and live in a dorm, your "Address Where You Live" will not be your dorm! It will be 1301 East Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37132. You will enter an "Address Where You Get Your Mail," and it will be P.O. Box ___, Murfreesboro, TN 37132; you must have an MTSU postal box to receive your mail on campus, which becomes your mailing address. You will address the Application for Voter Registration to the Rutherford County Election Commission, 1 Public Square South, Rutherford County Bldg. Rm. 103, Murfreesboro, TN 37130. Put a stamp on the envelope and mail it. Or, you can personally deliver the application to the election commission office on the south side of town square across from the courthouse.
Your application must be hand-delivered or postmarked in the U.S. mail by Mon., Oct. 8, in order to vote in November.
Youíve applied, but now what?
You are not registered until you receive your actual voter registration card in the mail. When it arrives, safely hold onto it! Itís official paperwork, like your driverís license and Social Security card.
Your voter card should arrive in the mail to you within about two weeks. You need to be looking for it and proactive about following up. If in two weeks you havenít received it, call the election commission (http://tnsos.org/elections/election_commissions.php?Show=All) and make inquiries.
You cannot vote without your official registration card and also without a state or federal photo identification card. Your MTSU University ID card will not provide the identification you need. You must have a driverís license or other acceptable official photo ID (http://www.tn.gov/sos/election/photoID.htm). If you do not have one, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security can provide one for you.
I have lots of questions not answered here. Who will help me get registered?
Students with questions about any election process should call the Rutherford County Election Commission at 615-898-7743, or email inquiries to email@example.com. The Election Commission office is located at 1 Public Square South, Room 103, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.
Check out these helpful websites:
- American Democracy Project MTSU
- MTSU Student Affairs
- Rutherford County Election Commission
- State of Tennessee
When and where do I vote?
Your voter registration card will designate precisely your voting precinct. You may need to check with your election commission for the exact address of the polling location for your precinct. The fall presidential election is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. You will vote at your precinct location that day.
Early voting in Tennessee starts October 17 and ends Nov. 1. "Early voting" locations are typically different from election day polling precincts. Check with your election commission for early voting locations and the times the polls are open.
When I go to the polls, what will I be expected to vote on?
Not only will you have the opportunity to vote for the President of the United States in November, but every member of the U.S. House of Representatives is up for re-election every two years, so you will be asked to vote for a representative to the U.S. Congress from your Congressional District. There are typically other elections and referenda issues on the ballot. Your county election commissionís website will provide a sample ballot you may examine prior to going to the polls.
Study the candidates. Read newspapers. Compare media biases. Be informed. Be prepared. Be smart. Be a good citizen. Be an MTSU civically engaged Blue Raider.