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Reflections on freshman year, by Associate Professor of Chemistry Chris Smart, VC '83

Dear Class of 2017,

There were some questions on the Facebook page about voter registration. I'm reposting the following from the Dean of Freshman blog, which was put together by the previous Dean of Freshman, Ben Lotto, in anticipation of last year's presidential election. While this November's election will not be quite as exciting or consequential as last year's, it's important to register and exercise your right to vote every year. Make it a habit. NYS Voter Registration Forms will be widely available on campus in September, and you are eligible to vote in Dutchess County after a 30-day residency.

Here's are Dean Lotto's guidelines for voter registration:

I've posted here before about registering to vote and about TurboVote , the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that Vassar has partnered with to help students register, request absentee ballots, and remember deadlines. As I've said before, Vassar students have the right to choose whether they register to vote in their home location or in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York. Despite the fact that the courts have repeatedly upheld the right of college students to register at their college address, there continues to be local opposition here and elsewhere to student registrations. This happens every year here in Poughkeepsie with formal challenges to the validity of student registrations. In order to make sure that those challenges are rejected, students who are registering locally need to pay particular attention to how the complete their registration. Here is what you will need to do according to the Dutchess County Board of Elections. This should work whether you are filling out the NYS Voter Registration Form yourself or using TurboVote .

  1. When asked for the address where you live, put:
    • Address: Room number and dorm (for example, 35 Cushing House)
    • Apt. Number: Leave blank
    • Zip code: 12604
    • City/town/village: Poughkeepsie
    • New York State County: Dutchess
  2. In TurboVote, when asked Do you receive your mail somewhere else?, answer Yes.
  3. When asked for the address where you receive mail, put:
    • Address: 124 Raymond Avenue
    • P.O. Box: Your Vassar box number
    • Zip code: 12604
    • City/town/village: Poughkeepsie

Of course, if you are registering in your home location, you should put your home address in the address where you live section of TurboVote and your Vassar mailing address as above in the address where you receive mail section.

This is highly bureaucratic and politicized, but, as I said above, you do have the right to choose to register and vote here if you wish. Following the above directions will allow you to exercise that right.