Students should take advantage of voting in Champaign-Urbana

As Election Day approaches, many students may be considering whether to register to vote here in Champaign-Urbana or remain registered back at home. I would encourage fellow students to consider registering here. While some politicians may not like it, the Supreme Court has unequivocally held (in Symm v. U.S., 1979) that college students have the right to vote at either their permanent home or their campus residence.

Students spend at least eight months of the year here (often more) and live here for at least four years, more than many “permanent” residents. Many of us work here as well, and we support the local government with our sales taxes and with the property taxes we indirectly pay. The cultural and economic health of the area to a large extent depends on the University, just as the University needs a vibrant and well-governed community around it to thrive. On issues from recycling and policing to public transit, bike- and pedestrian-friendly roads, and tenants’ rights, the decisions of the county and city governments affect our daily lives.

Changing registration is a simple process, and voting here improves the likelihood of having your vote count, without worrying about the difficulties of absentee voting or traveling home to vote. Your vote can also have more of an impact here in a more competitive race — such as the close House race between Democrat David Gill and Republican Rodney Davis, which may well be decided by college students — than in the solidly “blue” or “red” districts a lot of us come from.

At the University, we often think of ourselves as apart from our surroundings, but in truth we have a lot at stake in this community and we should have a voice in how it is governed.

*Michael Verderame,*

graduate student in English