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Voting 101: College Student Voting FAQ's

To aid students in making informed voting decisions and to become familiar with the voting process.


Have questions about voting? Hopefully, this guide has the answers you seek. 

If you have a question not on this page, please contact us!

Gary Marks, Cheng Library Civic Literacy Initiative

WP American Democracy Project

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 26th Amendment!

On July 5, 1971, the 26th Amendment passed lowering the U.S. Voting Age from 21 to 18!

Celebrate by voting in the 2021 election in NJ!

Commuter Student FAQ's

What Are My Options to Vote in the Upcoming Election? 

Vote in Person

Find your polling location in NJ 

Vote By Mail (VBM) & Absentee Ballot in New Jersey

NJ Vote by mail instructions 

Am I registered?

Confirm your registration status and registration address using the NJ Voter Search Tool 



Remote Students- U.S. Citizens living Overseas

How can I vote if I am a U.S. citizen but living abroad during the election?

Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) website. There are a number of underlying questions to navigate how to obtain an absentee ballot and how to register if you are living abroad and wish to exercise your voting rights in the U.S. 

General Election FAQ's

How do I know what or whom I'm voting for in 2021?

Check out our Election & Voting Resources page to find sample ballots for your address.

What is different about voting in 2021 then the last election in 2020?

In 2020 All NJ voters received a mail-in-ballot by Executive Order of the Governor. In 2021 no order has been given and polling locations will be open. Voters who wish to vote by mail can still do so, but must request a mail-in ballot before the April 13th deadline (for April elections). If you previously registered to Vote-by-mail you MUST opt-out if you intend to vote in-person at your polling location.

What if I always Vote-by-mail, but want to vote in person in 2021?
  • Check whether or not you are an active vote-by-mail voter under “Track My Ballot.”
  • If you are registered to vote by mail in the 2021 General Election, you must opt-out, in order to cast a ballot in person on a machine at an early voting location.
  • To opt-out, contact your County Clerk by August 31.

What are mistakes people make in completing their mail-in ballot that lead to rejected ballots?

The biggest mistake is not completing the ballot properly by not signing the ballot. Each ballot is unique to the district of the voter. Sample ballots and instructions for completing them can be found on the Elections & Voting Resources page of this guide. Find your county, then select your home town for the sample ballot and instructions. Out-of-state voters should refer to their state's division of elections website for instructions.

What do I do if I requested but do not receive my mail in ballot?

Contact the county clerks office in your home county. There is a process for requesting a second ballot. You should also create your personal voting account on the NJ Voter Portal. This will have information about your voting history and will have information about your current mail in ballot, including when it was created and when it was mailed to you.

Can I vote in person if I want to?

Yes. Polling locations will be open voting booths will be available. COVID-19 Guidelines will be in place at polling locations so please check your polling locations' specific guidelines before going to vote.

Resident Student FAQ's

In-State Resident Students

Can I vote at a polling location in Wayne or around the WP campus if I can't get home to vote on election day?

NO, voters can only vote in their designated polling location. If you are unable to return to your designated polling location you can request an absentee (Vote By Mail Ballot) to submit your vote without having to visit your polling location


Out-of-State Resident Students

Should I register in my home state or in my college state?

If you go to college out of state, you can register to vote in either your home state or where you attend college, but you cannot be registered in both locations. If you decide to register in your home state, you will need to sign up for an absentee ballot. Absentee ballot regulations vary by state, so be sure to research your state's process. You have the right to vote in any state where you have a temporary or permanent residence.

Does where I register to vote affect my in-state or out-of-state tuition?

No, where you register to vote should not, in most cases, affect your in-state or out-of-state tuition status. Typically, your residency status is determined by multiple factors, including voter registration, motor vehicle registration, driver's license, and state income tax return filing. Where your parents live can also determine your tuition status, if they claim you as a dependent.

Can I register to vote in BOTH my home state and my college state?

NO, you do not have the right to vote in more than one location. In fact, it's a felony -- and considered voter fraud -- to register to vote in multiple locales.

What are the requirements to vote?

The requirements for voting in local and federal elections vary by state, so students should check with their state election office to learn more. However, most states have similar requirements. For example, all states except North Dakota require individuals to register to vote, and every state allows absentee voting.

All voters must be at least 18 years of age, although some states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if their birthday falls before the general election. All voters must be U.S. citizens.

Use the Rock the Vote state selection tool to learn more about the voting requirements in your state.