Civic engagement for a new generation: Register to vote online


Symiah Dorsey

Participants in the Mayoral Debate stand on stage for a picture.

The 2022 U.S. midterm elections are quickly approaching, and the deadline to register online to vote in Louisiana is Oct. 18 and the deadline to register in person or postmark printed application is today. Given the current political climate, it is now more crucial than ever that voters make their opinions known at the polls this November. 

More than 8 million young people will be eligible for their first election, according to  Tufts Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. They have made their presence known on the political landscape by protesting for societal and economic issues that resonate with them, such as women’s rights, climate change and college loan debt.

However, young people are historically averse to voting on election day. According to the Census Bureau, 51.4% of Americans aged 18-24 voted in the 2020 presidential election, the lowest turnout percentage among all age groups. 

For 2022 and beyond, let’s remedy that issue. 

The first step towards engaging in the political process is registering to vote. You can register either at your home address or at your Southeastern address. In the State of Louisiana, college students are allowed to vote by mail with an absentee ballot, so if you are already registered in the state in another district you’ll need to put in a request to do so. The Lion’s Roar will be posting a guide to voting absentee closer to Election Day, so be on the lookout.

Luckily, in Louisiana, it is incredibly easy to register online. People looking to register to vote can head to Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s website. As the chief election officer, Ardoin oversees the operations of elections within the state, including voter registration. 

Next, head to the drop-down menu entitled “Elections and Voting” and click “Register to Vote.” From there, a set of guidelines will be listed detailing what requirements people need to meet in order to be eligible to vote. 

Third, click the “GeauxVote Registration System” link to register online. Prospective voters will then fill out their information, including their address and social security number. 

Finally, prospective voters must register with a political party, and can choose from either the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party or Independent. Familiarize yourself with the fundamental beliefs of each major political party here.

The website offers prospective voters the decision to either print out their application and mail it to their local Registrar of Voters Office, or submit their application electronically to their local Office of Motor Vehicles. Sending it to the OMV requires a valid Louisiana driver’s license in order to fill out their audit code, the four-digit number on driver’s licenses. 

Once the application is submitted and accepted, the Registrar of Voters Office will send a voter card, which details a voter’s primary polling place, which is usually a public school or civic center nearest to the voter’s registered address. 

The voter card also details the electoral districts the voter can participate in, such as their respective U.S. House districts, their State Representative district, and their State Senate district. 

The same information is available on the GeauxVote app, as well as the ability to request an absentee ballot and view a sample ballot. 

For the 2022 midterm elections specifically, Hammond residents have plenty to vote for, both locally and statewide. 

At the local level, Hammond residents will be voting for mayor of the city. Pete Panepinto, Republican, is the current incumbent running for reelection, and he’ll be facing a pair of Democrats in local businessman Johnny Pecoraro and Food and Drug Association officer Tracy Washington Wells, as well as fellow Republican and local property developer Darryl Smith. 

On the state level, Hammond residents will be voting for their U.S. House Congressperson, representing Louisiana’s 1st district. Steve Scalise, the eight-term incumbent and 2nd-ranked Republican in the House of Representatives, is running for a ninth term against Katie Darling, a Democrat and businesswoman, and Howard Kearney, a Libertarian and computer programmer. 

Finally, Hammond residents will vote for their next representative in the U.S. Senate. John Kennedy, Republican, is the current junior Senator for Louisiana and will be facing a heavily crowded field of opponents spanning the political spectrum, including Democrats Gary Chambers, Jr., Syrita Steib and Luke Mixon, as well as Republican Devin Lance Graham. 

Voting is an important right shared by all Americans, and is the most direct way citizens can involve themselves in the political process. Citizens, especially young people, should make their trek to the ballot box on Nov. 8, because for the health of America’s democracy, it is imperative that the people make their voices heard. 

For more information on candidates, voters can head to Ballotpedia to conduct research on the people running in local and statewide races this fall. 

SGA will be holding a voter registration drive on Monday, Oct. 17, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. to help students register to vote.