Help me decide: vote at school or home out of state?

Every state makes its own registration and mail-in-ballot rules

You must be first registered to vote in your home state. Then, in most states you can apply to vote as an “absentee voter,” meaning you are casting your ballot as a resident of your hometown while temporarily residing elsewhere. On the absentee voter application, you must indicate your USD on-campus address as the mailing address where your absentee ballot should be sent.

Presidential primaries have all kinds of different rules -- often voters must be registered in a political party (a registered Democrat, for example) to vote in that party's presidential primary. Some states, however, have in-person only voting in presidential elections--and some don't even have voting at all (like some Republican parties this year). If you're itching to vote in a presidential primary, make sure you're able to before you choose to vote out of state.

All students at USD who are otherwise eligible to vote can register and vote in the March 3 California primary (by mail if you will be out of California on March 3).

If you took care of all of this before you arrived at USD, that will save you some time. You still need to be aware of your state's own deadlines for mailing your ballot back.

If you haven't registered in your home state, but still want to do that, you will have to jump over some hurdles.

A few states make it really difficult for students to register and vote while away at school--Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wyoming.  If you are from one of those states, you should probably register and vote here in San Diego at your school address.

  • Reasons why you should vote by mail with your permanent address
  • Reasons to vote here in San Diego, with your local address
  • Information about your own state's laws