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In partnership with Loud Light and the League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County, Washburn University and the Washburn Student Government Association are committed to encouraging student participation in the democratic process of voting. This includes providing students with opportunities to register to vote, forms of voter literacy, and outlets for quality discussions.

Navigating the democratic process and deciding who to vote for in a local, state, or national election can be hard. Doing your own research is the best way to learn more about candidates or the different party platforms and positions on issues. Here are some helpful research tools:

  • The Kansas Secretary of State Office produces a candidate list for each election. This tool allows you to see who will be on the ballot for national and state offices in both the primary (in August) and general (in November) elections. From there, you can navigate to a candidate’s website, if listed, to find out more information about them and their platforms.
  • The Campus Election Engagement Project has a Nonpartisan Candidate Guide available in both English and Spanish. This tool outlines where the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees stand on specific issues. Note: The stances of the Libertarian and Green Party nominees, as well as those of other parties, are not included in this guide.
  • The Flip Side offers daily emails that describe the different sides of issues. This allows you to stay informed on issues in perspectives across the political spectrum. You can sign up for to receive emails.
  • Procon.org provides arguments for and against a given statement. This tool is also helpful in exploring the different positions on issues.
  • VoteSmart provides a number of ways that can help you determine which candidates do or do not have the same views as yourself on issues.
  • Issue Voter allows you to “vote” on bills in Congress and then compare your opinions to those of your representatives. This tool is great for those who are passionate about specific issues, such as healthcare, education, or immigration.
  • Opensecrets.org gives you the opportunity to discover where a specific candidate is getting the money for their campaign from (i.e. companies, political action committees, grassroot supporters, etc.). It also allows you to see other ways of how money plays into politics.

This day in age, it is possible for people to share information via social media or in person without first verifying its truthfulness. In order to avoid these falsehoods and/or biases, it’s important for voters to do their own fact-checking. Here are some helpful fact-checking websites:

  • AllSides: An organization that gathers articles from each side of the media (left-leaning, center, and right-leaning) so you can compare how biases play into reporting
  • Fact Check: A nonpartisan, nonprofit project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, that overlooks the factuality of words used by U.S. politicians and political stakeholders
  • Politifact: A Pulitzer Prize-winning website, ran by editors and reporters from the independent newspaper Tampa Bay Times, that rates the factualness of claims that are made by elected officials
  • ProPublica: An independent, nonprofit Pulitzer Prize-winning news organization that completes investigative journalism in the public interest
  • Snopes: An independent, nonpartisan site ran by researcher and writer David Mikkelson, who researches urban legends and rumors
  • The Sunlight Foundation: A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that produces public policy data-based journalism
  • Truth or Fiction: A nonpartisan site that allows users to get information about disinformation, false reports, hoaxes, myths, and more

Q: Am I eligible to vote?

A: The requirements to vote in the United States are:

  1. You must be a U.S. citizen.
  2. You must be 18 years old by election day. In Kansas, you can pre-register when you are 17.
  3. You must be registered to vote. For primaries in Kansas, you must be registered to a specific party or declare a party on election day in order to vote in that specific party’s primary. You can register to vote at ksvotes.org or vote.org.

If you will be voting in Kansas, there are additional voting eligibility qualifications. You can go to the Kansas Secretary of State’s website to view them.

Q: Can I vote early?

A: Kansas offers an advance voting period that can be done in person or by mail. If you wish to vote by mail in Kansas, you can complete an advance voting application online at ksvotes.org.

If your planning to vote early in-person in Kansas and you don’t know the dates and locations of it being offered, contact your county’s election officer.

Be sure that you know when the deadlines for early mail-in or in-person voting are if that is how you choose to vote.

*Not all states allow early voting. Go to vote.org to see which ones do.

Q: Do I register at my school address or my permanent address?

A: Students can register to vote at both their school address and their permanent address, if desired. However, you will only be able to vote once in an election using one of the addresses that you registered with. To register to vote in Kansas, visit ksvotes.org.

*To register to vote in a different state, visit vote.org.

Q: Does it matter where I vote?

A: Yes, the address in which you use to register to vote determines your polling location and who will be listed on your ballot. In example, if you are from Texas, but are registered to vote in Kansas, you will only be allowed to vote for candidates who will be representing Kansas. Additionally, To view your polling location, go to vote.org.

Where you vote can make a difference in the voice you have in how public tax dollars are spent at a certain local, district, state, regional, and/or national level. Public tax dollars can go towards things like education, infrastructure (roads, buildings, etc.), healthcare, income security programs, or veteran’s care.

Washburn is one of three colleges/universities in the nation that remain under partial city control. This means that the City of Topeka allocates part of its budget towards the funding of the university. Therefore, if you are a voter in Topeka, you get the chance to vote on people who will serve in locally elected positions and will end up making decisions that can affect Washburn University.

Q: How can I make sure my mail-in ballot was received back at my election office?

A: If you are a registered Kansas voter, you can check the status of your mail-in ballot through Kansas VoterView.

Q: What about accessibility?

A: Under the law, elections must be accessible to all voters. This includes: language, polling place, and ballot. Visit the Kansas Secretary of State Office’s voter information site to learn more.

Q: What do I bring with me to vote?

A: In Kansas, you will need to bring a valid form of photo identification, such as a driver’s license or a student ID card. To view acceptable forms of identification in Kansas, visit https://sos.ks.gov/elections/photo-id.html.

Q: What if I move after I register?

A: Re-registration is required when you have either moved, changed your name, or need to change your political party affiliation. If you need to re-register, you can do so at ksvotes.org if you are registering in Kansas, or vote.org if you are registering in a different state.

Q: What if I’m not able to vote in person?

A: You can vote by absentee ballot if you are unable to vote in person at your polling place on Election Day. If you are an out-of-state student and are registered to vote in your home state, it is likely that you will need to vote by absentee ballot. The same goes for if you an in-state student and are registered in your hometown outside of the Topeka area.

Regardless of if you will be out of town, state, or out of the country on Election Day, you can vote by absentee ballot. You can learn more about absentee voting in your state at vote411.org. Be sure to know your state’s absentee ballot deadlines so you can make sure your vote gets counted.

Q: What if I’m not allowed to vote at my polling location?

A: If your voter eligibility is questioned, you can vote by provisional ballot. There are multiple reasons of why you could be denied to vote normally, such as not re-registering after moving to a new address. Simply ask the poll worker for a provisional ballot.

Q: Where do I go to vote on election day?

A: You will have an assigned polling location based off of the address that you used for your voter registration. If you are a registered voter in Kansas, you can visit the Kansas VoterView to see where your polling place is at. This site can also be used to confirm your voter registration.

If you are an out-of-state student and are registered to vote in your home state, it is likely that you will need to vote by absentee ballot. The same goes for if you an in-state student and are registered in your hometown outside of the Topeka area.

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Follow us on our social media account for more information on the voting process, as well as information on voting and election-related events happening on and off campus.


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Office of Student Involvement & Development
Main Level, Memorial Union
1820 SW Jewell Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

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(after 5 p.m. by appointment)
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