Short Answer

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 1/30/11 11:00pm

Friday's Verbum Ultimum discussed a proposed bill that would make it illegal for college students from out of state to vote in New Hampshire. Do you believe that college students have the right to vote in the towns where they study?

While students only stay in their college town for a discrete amount of time, the college at which they study will be there indefinitely, continuously populated by students with largely the same concerns and voting patterns as past classes. Thus, while it may not make sense for individual students to have the right to vote in their college town due to the short duration of their residency, it is necessary for students in general to have the ability to protect the interests of future students.Jacob Batchelor

Although the D-Plan tends to disconnect Dartmouth undergraduates from the political scene in Hanover, that does not mean that Dartmouth students who vote are not invested in local politics. Without a door-to-door survey, there is no way to know with certainty any individual's interest in local government. Unless the state of New Hampshire is prepared to conduct such a survey for all of its residents, there is no valid reason to disenfranchise a voting group simply because legislators question its investment in local politics.Sapna Chemplavil

The case against the new law seems pretty thin. First, the proposed legislation's definition of "residency" seems consistent with both the general usage and the intent of the Constitution (government for the people, by the people). Second, nothing is stopping students from casting absentee ballots. Maybe the Verbum shows that the motivations for the bill are flawed, but that doesn't make it unconstitutional.Charles Clark

While the judiciary may strike down such a law on constitutional grounds, most college students attending out-of-state institutions could care less about state politics and should not be allowed to vote in state elections. Having an informed electorate, a precursor for successful democracy, is a two-way street the candidates must communicate with the public and the electorate must actively engage in state politics. Temporary residents of a state who do not take an active role in state politics should not be allowed to vote.Suril Kantaria

This bill is a blatant attempt by the ruling party to garner a political advantage by disenfranchising a large segment of the voting population. It is profoundly undemocratic to deny college students the right to vote in the towns where they live for the majority of the year.Keshav Poddar

College students are not affected by the long-term consequences of changes in local governance. Dartmouth freshmen who come strutting into Hanover shouldn't have as much say as long-time residents who understand local issues, pay taxes and raise families here.Roger Lott

While out-of-state students do bring an influx of capital into the state of New Hampshire, for many of us residency is temporary, meaning that we hold a limited stake in the governance of the state. Instead, students should be focused on bettering their own microcosm by taking stances on perceived problems at their own colleges.Yoo Jung Kim

The New Hampshire state constitution says "every inhabitant of the state of 18 years of age and upwards shall have an equal right to vote in any election." Why are people who live in the state nine or 10 months of the year for four or more years suddenly not "inhabitants"?Brian Solomon

While it's true that most Dartmouth students are not caught up on every detail of local politics, I'm pretty sure that a random New Hampshire citizen on the street isn't more knowledgeable. College students are generally far more politically aware than the average voter, so it's absurd that people want to disenfrachise us for being supposedly ignorant.Ethan Wang