The Collegian
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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Students must include dorm and UR mailing address for voting registration

Students registering to vote in Virginia in the November election must include both their physical dorm room address and their University of Richmond mailing address on the voter registration application, said Sasha Hollister, program manager of community relationships and UR Downtown at the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.

Some students have had difficulty figuring out what information to include for their UR address when registering to vote, such as sophomore Acacia Wycoff. Her voter registration application was rejected twice, first when she only used her UR mailing address and then when she only used her dorm building address, she said. She was able to understand what information to include after reaching out to the Office of the University Registrar, she said. 

“The registrar’s office is definitely helpful," Wycoff said. "[Registering to vote] is just super complicated because we’re all on campus and there’s so many different addresses."

Students should write their dorm address as their residential address on the registration form to reflect their physical domain and provide their UR mailing address for the ballot to be mailed to them, Hollister said. 

Using only the general UR address — 410 Westhampton Way, Richmond, Virginia, 23173 — is an automatic invalidation that will cause a student’s voting registration to be rejected, Hollister said. 

CCE staff have provided voter registration forms for students to pick up at its office in Tyler Haynes Commons and in Boatwright Memorial Library by the circulation desk, Hollister said. CCE staff have also created packets with voter registration information. Students and staff can pick up a packet or request one from the CCE by emailing Hollister at shollist@richmond.edu. 

Students can contact Hollister with any questions concerning voter registration or absentee voting, Hollister said. 

On Sept. 22, which is National Voter Registration Day, CCE staff sent an email to all students about registering to vote. Hollister said CCE staff plan to send out two more emails about voter registration and absentee ballot applications before the registration deadline for Virginia on Tuesday, Oct. 13. 

“I think [UR] has done a really good job [communicating], especially leading up to the presidential election through the CCE and all of their Brown Bag series on voter registration and other events,” junior Valentina Zuluaga, president of UR College Democrats, said. 

Proper communication about voter registration is vital for students, and lack of it could discourage students from attempting to register, Zuluaga said. 

“I think that people — if they're unaware of their resources or how to register to vote completely, especially when you're changing your address — would be very confused and discouraged, which could limit people from wanting to register or vote in elections,” Zuluaga said. 

Zuluaga said she encourages students to reach out to the College Democrats if they have any questions about voting registration. 

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Wycoff said if students did not have the proper information on how to register, they likely would not be aware of the incorrect information they provided until after the registration deadline closed.

“[The registration process] took weeks," she said. "So if people are registering right now and they do it wrong, they’re not going to be registered correctly."

Hollister encourages students to register as soon as possible and vote early if they are registered to vote in Virginia. 

The CCE is providing a shuttle system to transport students from UR to early voting polling stations in the city of Richmond every Friday and Saturday. The shuttle will run from Oct. 9 to Oct. 31, except for Oct. 24, as stated in an Oct. 8 email sent by the CCE to students. 

Early voting in Virginia runs from Sept. 18 to Oct. 31. 

Voter registration closes in Virginia on Oct. 13. Students who need more information on how to register to vote or have any other questions can reach out to Sasha Hollister at the CCE.

Contact news writer Westen Doran at westen.doran@richmond.edu. 

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