The College Vote

By: Michael Hyland Email
By: Michael Hyland Email

The fall political season is unofficially underway with the conclusion of the Labor Day parade in Buena Vista.

The Commonwealth's Board of Elections recently approved new guidelines in an effort to clarify rules about college students voting in Virginia. Those rules are still waiting for approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Last year, students registered in droves. Many became frustrated by inconsistencies in rules from one city or county to another.

College students were an early target in last year's presidential campaign, especially on the Democratic side, but now people are wondering about this year.

James Madison University political analyst Bob Roberts points out that students historically aren't active in the governor's race. At this time last year, large efforts were already underway to sway the college vote.

Roberts says this time, in a race where there's less money to spend, it's not surprising the campaigns aren't aggressively targeting students.

"Neither of the gubernatorial candidates, while they're talking about higher education, are really talking about where they're going to get additional money to put in colleges. So, I think many college students don't really think it's a major concern to them," says Roberts.

A big concern last year among some people living in Harrisonburg was the perceived effect college students had on local races. Roberts says there are few competitive House of Delegates races this year.

Still he says it's unlikely the college vote would impact those.


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