Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Oct. 6, 2004

Get ready for the ballots

by Diana Frey, Page Editor
Information gathered from The Maryland State Board of Elections (MSBE) Website and The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

As the election draws nearer, the deadline for registering is advancing even more quickly.  Listed below is are resources and requirements for qualified Blazers to help them complete that simple task of becoming registered voters.

Requirements for registering to vote in Maryland:
  • One must be 18 years of age or older to register and vote.
  • One must be registered to vote at least 29 days before or 10 days after a primary election.
  • For general elections, one must be registered to vote 29 days prior to the election or as soon as 15 days after.
  • One must have a Maryland residence, meaning that one's domicile, or official address, must be in Maryland.
  • If one is in college and is not returning to their previous address, then the school's address can count as his or her domicile.
  • If one has a change of address he or she should notify the election board of their county within 30 days of the change.
  • New registrations are verified by mail and after registering one should receive a Voter Notification Card after registering. (This card shows the precinct number and voting place.)
Additional requirements for voting include:
  • One must be a U.S. citizen, and not be under guardianship for mental disability.
  • One must not have been convicted of buying or selling votes.
  • One should not have been convicted more than once of a crime of violence (Criminal Law Art. 14 101) and not have been convicted of an infamous crime unless one has been pardoned or completed the court imposed sentence (first conviction) or at least three years have passed since the court imposed sentence. An infamous crime is defined as any felony or crime involving an element of deceit, fraud or corruption. A court-imposed sentence includes probation, parole, community service, restitutions and fines.
  • For more information on programs for young people and voting trends visit Youth Vote Coalition. If you care about your future and are old enough to vote, it does not make sense not to. The president impacts the future of the US.
Voter registration forms can be found in numerous accessible locations closest to you. In Maryland, any Motor Vehicle Association, State Department of Health, Social Services Administration, Offices on Aging and most other state services have registration applications. One may also request a registration form by mail by calling the toll free number 1-800-222-VOTE. Everyone who meets requirements has the legal right to vote, so this process is free. If a website or service charges to register, then this was not the best place to register. More state registration information can be found here.

Margarita Acosta, a senior who is president of Youth and Government at Blair, already voted in this year's primary elections and plans to vote in the general election as well. Acosta registered to vote at school with the SGA, and why students should vote is an easy question for her to answer. "I'm pretty involved in politics, and it doesn't make sense not to to me," says Acosta. She also explains that voting is not difficult and when students vote, they know it is not their fault if the chosen candidate does not win.

Andrew Beach, another senior at Blair, registered to vote when he got his driver's license. Beach got involved in voting for many reasons. "Who our president is has a lot to do with our lives,"  says Beach. "You should take every opportunity you have to influence the world around you."  Beach reminds students that if they choose not to vote, then they cannot complain when our president is elected.
There has been a decline in the number of people between the ages of 18-24 who actually vote since 1972. According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), in Maryland, out of the 65 percent of registered 18-24 year olds, only 42 percent actually voted in the 2000 general elections. As the youth of America more young people need to try and influence their future, because registering to vote is simple!

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  • haha on October 6, 2004
    There is a very good chance that our president will not BE "elected."
  • Anarchist on October 7, 2004
    "haha" makes no sense. In this country, we ELECT our president.
  • Anarchist on November 1, 2004
    I hope Bush is elected ^_^ he'z so hot!!111ten
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