Election Questions and Answers for College Students
Any U.S. citizen who is a resident in Mississippi who will be 18 by Election Day, and who has registered to vote at least 30 days before Election Day.
You must be registered at least 30 days before Election Day in order to vote. Once you are registered, you do not have to register again as long as you remain a resident where you are registered. If you move, you will need to re-register.
You can register to vote at:
- the circuit clerk's office,
- the municipal clerk's office (usually at town or city hall),
- where you renew your driver license,
- any state or federal agency offering government services, or
- any public library
Once you complete the form, mail it to your Circuit Clerk's office (contact information found on your County Election Information page).
What do I need in order to register?
Under Federal law you must provide the last four digits of your social security number and you may provide:
- Mississippi drivers license with your current name and address; or
- a current utility bill with your name and address; or
- a current bank statement with the your name and address; or
- a current government check with your address; or
- another government document with your name and address.
If you do not provide one of the above forms of identification with your application, you may be required to present one at the polls on Election Day.
You vote in the community where you are registered. You can use either your home or campus address as your voting place of residence but not both.
Should I vote in my college community?
Voting in your college community is more convenient and relieves you of the need to secure and return an absentee ballot but you will not be able to vote for your local hometown candidates.
- If you have a vested interest in the local issues of your college community such as off-campus housing, personal safety, and/or quality of life issues, you may register and vote there.
- If you feel more connected to your college community than you do to your home or you are planning on remaining in the college community after graduation, you may register and vote there.
BE AWARE!! Be sure to check terms of school loans and scholarships to be sure you won't lose your eligibility if you vote away from your home community. Doing so entails changing your official place of residence and your loan or scholarship may be linked to your home community.
Should I vote in my home community?
Students living away from home but registered in their home community must vote by absentee ballot if they can't get back on Election Day.
- If you don't consider your college community to be your home or you have a special interest in the local issues at your old address, you may register and vote in you home community.
- If you plan to return to your home community, vote in your home community because the people and issues you vote for will affect you more.
After registering, you will receive a voting card from your circuit clerk which will tell you where to go to vote. If you don't have or if you lose your card, you can call your county circuit clerk.
If your are over 50 miles away from your county of residence or are temporarily residing outside the territory of the U.S. on Election Day, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.
Absentee voting deadlines come early.
- Application for an absentee ballot must be made within 45 days of Election Day.
- Ballots delivered in person or by mail to the circuit clerks office must be delivered by 5 p.m. on the day before the election.
To help assure that your ballot is counted, contact your circuit clerk's office at least two weeks before the election (the office is usually in town or city hall).
- You can go to the circuit clerk's office before Election Day and vote by absentee ballot right then or, if you intend to vote by mail, allow three weeks minimum between submitting your application for the absentee ballot and the deadline to vote by absentee ballot. Follow the instructions carefully. You will need to have your ballot notarized unless you are disabled. Main post offices and town halls or someone in your college administration office can notarized your ballot.
You must request an absentee ballot. Contact a U.S. embassy, consulate, designated military personnel or your state election authority. For additional information, contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
Look at the signs at the polling place for directions on how to use the voting machine, a list of your voting rights, and instructions for filing a complaint if your rights have been violated. There will be workers at the polls who can help you as well.
What if I registered but my name is not on the list?
Get help from the poll manager by asking for an affidavit ballot. Don't leave without voting! The outcome of every election is important and YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
For additional information for students on a state-by-state basis link to the Brennan Center for Justice.