No need to miss big election: Students can easily register to vote in Brookings Nov. 2

Kristin Marthaler

Kristin Marthaler

Being a college student makes it harder to follow normal life rituals like going to church, eating supper at the same time every night, and voting.

Most college students become of voting age by the time they enter college. However, not all college students vote in national or state elections. Even campus elections for Student’s Association have had low voter turn out.

These elections are made easy for students because it’s right on campus and students can vote online. But voting in a national election is a different matter entirely.

It is a lot harder for some people, because it requires a lot more work and planning. It may be the fact that someone who wants to vote has to go to the auditor’s office at the local courthouse, just to register. But once you are registered, you are registered until you move out of the county. College students are usually too busy and aren’t able to plan ahead to get this done.

In South Dakota, if a voter does not register to vote 15 days before the election, they can’t vote in the upcoming election. If a voter is able to plan ahead of time, the hard part might just be going down to the polls to vote, standing in line and waiting.

“I’ll be happy to help anyone who calls,” says Stacy Steffensen, election supervisor at the auditor’s office in Brookings.

If an SDSU student is from Minnesota, it is a lot easier to vote. The policy has changed, so instead of registering 15 days before the election, voters can register on election day at the polling place.

For students in South Dakota who want to vote absentee, go to for a registration form, or sign up at the local auditor’s office. You can register to vote and fill out an absentee ballot all at the same time. Voters must be a resident of South Dakota, a U.S. citizen and 18-years-old or older. The deadline to receive an absentee ballot is Oct. 15, and the ballots must be turned in no later than 3 p.m. on Election Day.

Steffensen also wants to remind voters to “send in a copy of their photo ID, examples being a drivers license or any other valid photo ID when sending in your absentee ballot.”

Planning ahead of the game becomes a lot harder if you are a college student. Absentee voting makes it easier to get the job done, and makes your voice heard.

So far this year the auditor’s office has received 250 requests for absentee ballots.

Steffensen said, “It has been very busy around here lately. We normally have 1,000 or more requests by voting time, but to have 25 percent of them already requested two or more months ahead of time, makes me think we will have a larger turn out for voters this year.”

Absentee voting is also helpful for the avid voter who can’t make it to the polls on Election Day.

You are encouraged to voice your opinion and vote this upcoming election. No time is better than the present.

Places to register and vote are your local County Auditors Office, City Finance Office, Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Human Resources. The number for the Brookings County Auditor’s Office is 696-8200.