Voting as a college student in Pennsylvania


Josalyn McMillan, Editor-in-Chief

The next U.S. general elections are right around the corner, and historically, the 18 to 29 age demographic has had the lowest voter turnout. College-age individuals have given plenty of reasons why they fail to vote, but the fact of the matter is that seeing any kind of change in the world starts with the citizens—like college students—who elect representatives to fulfill the wishes of the people, and every vote matters.

The first step is registering to vote. Each state has different deadlines for voter registration, absentee ballot requests, absentee ballot returns, and in-person voting. In Pennsylvania, the 2022 voter registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 24. To find your state’s deadline for registering, visit: Election Dates and Deadlines, When is the Next Election? U.S. Vote Foundation ( Pennsylvania residents can register or update their voter registration at Voter Registration Application (

If you are unable to attend your local polling station on election day, you are able to request an absentee ballot ahead of time. The absentee ballot request deadline is, however, Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 5:00 p.m., and the absentee ballot must be received by the County Election Office in the district you are registered to vote in by Nov. 8 at 8:00 p.m. You can request a Pa. ballot application at Ballot Request Application ( Voters are also able to vote ahead of time by contacting their local election office for in-person absentee voting before Nov. 1 at 5:00 pm.

If you have already voted at your registered polling place before, you are not required to show your ID to vote. However, if you are a first-time voter or you are voting at a new polling location, you are required to show your ID to vote. Acceptable ID forms include a Pa. driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, a Pa. or U.S. government issued ID, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID, student ID, employee ID, confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office, a non-photo ID issued by Pa. or the U.S. government, a firearm permit, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or a government check that includes your name and address.

To find your polling place or where to return your mail-in absentee ballot, complete the short questionnaire on the PA Voter Services website: Polling Place Information ( If you are planning on voting in person, Pa. polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. As long as you are in line to vote before 8:00 p.m., you are entitled to cast a ballot.

Check out sites like Voters Guide | that provide state-by-state candidate guides. This site is produced by nonpartisan, veteran journalists and lists resources that inform about each candidate’s stances and platforms.

The most important part of voting is knowing the candidate you want to represent your community. Be an informed voter: learn about the candidates and their campaign policies. Be an agent of change in your community, and vote with confidence this election season.