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Should Georgetown Student Voters Register in D.C.?

A student newspaper says no. A resident blogger says yes.

Amidst the larger national debate over voter registration and voting requirements for election this fall, a smaller local issue has stirred in Georgetown: should students attending Georgetown University switch their voter registration to D.C. or keep their home state registration?

In The Hoya Tuesday, the student newspaper's editorial board told students not to bother registering in D.C.

"Georgetown students would be misguided to diminish their voice by voting here, rather than joining the battle back home in what is such a meaningful election for the future of our country," they opined.

The editorial focused on the lack of voting rights in Congress for District residents and the minor role student voices tend to play in decision making. Considering that and the possible importance of just a few votes in a swing state, The Hoya says to vote absentee.

But Georgetown resident and Georgetown Metropolitan writer, Topher Mathews takes a different view on the matter. Writing on Greater Greater Washington Wednesday, Matthews said:

"Yes, registering to vote in DC carries with it the added price of removing your (tiny) voice from Congress. And that sucks. But removing your relatively larger voice from the local conversation based upon the statistically improbable chance that your vote might be decisive back home is just delusional."

Students are not alone in debating the switch to D.C. residency. Many new workers who move to the District hold onto their state residency and voting registration for many of the same reasons The Hoya offered.

What do you think? Should new residents and students register to vote in D.C.? Or does that national importance of the 2012 election outweigh having a say in local decisions? Tell us in the comments.

RNM September 13, 2012 at 03:27 PM
As a student, I maintained my residency outside the district, because it was legal to do so. New residents who are not exempted because of status as student, hill worker, military, etc... (where agreements exist) are required by law to switch their residency. So in effect they are committing voter fraud by voting absentee some place where they don't live and violating DC law and avoiding paying local taxes (don't even get me on registering vehicles). Very different situations. As I commented on Tophers Georgetown Metropolitan yesterday...the students have much more influence by being an actual constituent of a voting Representative and two Senators with the actual control of DC. On top of that, what seems more important voting on an issue such as President in a swing state that can shape not only DC but the nation and the world....or voting for an ANC and Ward candidate? Imagine how different the world would be if the entire student blocks from Florida voted absentee in 2000? It could have swung the course of the nation for the last decade. A vote matters, but some votes matter more. RNM
Shaun Courtney (Editor) September 13, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Thanks for your comment and your insight. We certainly weren't suggesting that new residents violate voter registration laws, though I wonder how many people actually know that they are? - SC

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