Andrew Chase / Opinions Editor

Cristian Valentin
Equinox Staff

With the 2020 election being in the books for a while now, much controversy has come up about the topic of out-of-state college students and their voting eligibility.

According to WMUR, this past Monday, The House Election Law Committee took part in many hours of testimony discussing bills that would ensure people voting in New Hampshire are actual residents of the state. This sounds reasonable enough, but the debate comes from many opponents of the bill saying that it is simply trying to make it harder for college students to vote.

In addition to this, the committee also voted recommending that the house fully remove Democratic bills allowing universal absentee voting.

If this were to pass, it would no longer allow students attending their college to claim domicile in the town that the institution resides in. Bill sponsor Norman Silber believes that giving specifically college students this right is unfair to others.

This is a complex issue but I must say that even as a New Hampshire resident who wouldn’t be affected by this, I very much disagree with this proposal. First of all, I don’t really understand what Silber is trying to say because these college students live in these towns for up to eight months of the year, if they don’t live off-campus. This means that the laws of the area certainly affect them more than not and they should have a say in those decisions.

An example of this is the fact that many college students were impacted the most by the state of New Hampshire’s decision to move the buying age for nicotine products up to 21. I don’t indulge in these products, but I can definitely understand the frustration from many of my peers. College-age students were practically the only ones affected by this right being pretty much taken away and in this scenario, they would have no chance to even vote on it.

I also think that this comes across a little disingenuous on the part of many of these NH house members. I believe that because college students typically lean more left on the political spectrum and therefore will vote for representatives who are against many of the policies that these republicans want to put into action. It raises the question: if the students of Keene State College, Plymouth State and UNH leaned more right, would these politicians be fighting against them voting in the first place?

Something I somewhat disagree with, however, is the ability to switch back and forth between elections at different times. An example of this is me seeing many people vote for local elections where they go to college but then voting in the national election back where they are from because they want to sway the vote towards their party in that particular state. I believe that if you choose to vote local in one election during your college years then you should be voting in that state for the rest of the time you are attending that university or else the system begins to be cheapened.

Overall, college students should absolutely have the right to vote where they are attending college because it is where they spend the majority of their time. Bills like this being proposed are incredibly dangerous in my eyes and seem to only be trying to silence a part of the population because they don’t necessarily agree with the powers that be, and that is what is truly unfair to citizens.


Cristian Valentin can be contacted at:

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