Why F&M Votes
Young people aged 18-24 vote less (have a lower rate of voter turnout) than any other age group. F&M Votes seeks to turn that fact on its head.
In 2012, for instance, F&M Votes registered (for our precinct) 1126 students, or 55%, of students (eligible U.S. citizens) who were on-campus that fall. 985 students, or 87% of those who registered, actually voted on November 6 at the on-campus polling site. We sought to get a better, more quantifiable picture of our success at getting F&M students to vote in 2012 by conducting a survey of F&M students to get an approximation of how many voted absentee. Combining that absentee rate with the local, in person electoral records gave us an effective total voting rate of 67%.
Register to Vote
Pennsylvania requires voters to register 30 days prior to an election. The 2016 presidential election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8, which means you must register in Pennsylvania by Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Please note that Pennsylvania has a closed primary system; you must be registered with a party in order to vote for that party's candidates.
Why Register in PA
You may be surprised to learn that a 1979 Supreme Court decision affirms the right of college students to register to vote in the county/state in which they attend school. So, if you're already registered to vote back home, why should you consider changing your registration to Lancaster County and Pennsylvania?
- Convenience: You are more likely to cast a ballot in a November election if you can do it in person, and the polling location for F&M students with a campus address (or nearby apartments) is always within easy walking distance of campus.
- Your Vote May Count More: Pennsylvania has been considered a swing state during the last several elections (and will likely continue to hold that status in 2016), so your decision to vote here may have a greater impact than your home state.
- You Can Impact Local Issues: Don't discount the importance of local and state elections for issues that may concern you: taxes, municipal services, funding for education and social services, protecting the environment...the list is endless, and your voice matters.
How to Register in PA
As an F&M student, you are strongly encouraged to download, print, and fill in the form below; this will guarantee you use the correct mailing address for the College. Completed forms may be left in one of our dropboxes at Steinman Student Center or the Circulation Desk at Shadek-Fackenthal. You can also return forms to Nicole Hoover in the philosophy department.
Be an Informed Citizen
Information about Pennsylvania election laws and services from the PA Department of State
- League of Women Voters' Information for Pennsylvania Elections
Non-partisan information about elections tailored to your location/interests
- Sample ballots for Lancaster County
See exactly what you'll be looking at in the polling booth.
Learn more about the legislators reprenting you, including how they vote and how to contact them.
Want to stay informed about upcoming elections?
Want to help us get the word out about voting?
Want to make a difference in your community?
The work of registering F&M voters and promoting each election takes the work of dozens of students, faculty and professional staff. Our volunteers staff registration tables, handle in-class registrations, process paperwork, compile statistics and participate in efforts to "get out the vote" (including baking cookies!). If you'd like to join our email list of volunteers, please contact our student co-chair, Elizabeth Reed.