Become a part of Suffolk's voting community. #suffolkvotes

A cornerstone of Suffolk’s identity is civic engagement and encouraging students to participate in the democratic process, which includes voting in elections. However, one of the most basic steps—registering to vote—can sometimes be a confusing process. This is especially true for college students, many of whom are away from home and may have never registered before.

To help students navigate this important civic process, Suffolk University created “Suffolk Votes,” a university-wide initiative supported by the Center for Community Engagement, the Political Science & Legal Studies Department, and the Institute for Public Service. The initiative is made up of faculty, staff, and student leaders to educate and engage the Suffolk community in the voting process by making it as easy as possible.

Registering to Vote

In some cases, students can complete most of or all of the registration process online, depending on the state in which you are registering. However, each state’s registration process is different. Because of this, we encourage you to take advantage of in-person voter registration where you can be sure to complete the process fully and accurately.

Visit Suffolk's Center for Community Engagement in Sawyer 824 to register in person and have any questions you may have answered by one of our Suffolk Votes Student Ambassadors or Center staff.

If you prefer to proceed on your own and are eligible to register online, we provide other resources to complete your registration online.

Suffolk's Voter Participation

Suffolk University has received the silver seal by the All-In Campus Challenge for our voter registration and engagement efforts in 2016 and 2018. Suffolk University is also part of the National Survey of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) that tracks our voter participation and turnout nationally.

See Suffolk's recent voter registration and turnout rate
Statehouse capital building at sunset, gold dome reflecting sunlight.

Voting Matters

00:01 [Music]

00:03 Hi Suffolk Community.

00:05 I'm Rachael Cobb - Chair of the Political Science and Legal Studies department.

00:10 Here at Suffolk there is a strong tradition of service, participation, and political engagement.

00:19 As a political scientist who studies how people can successfully run for office and why people participate in the political system, and why people don't participate in the political

00:29 system, I can tell you politicians pay a lot of attention to who votes and they respond.

00:38 Voting matters.

00:39 When voters don't turn out to choose their local and state governments they receive a government that doesn't represent them.

00:48 Voting for state, local and national representatives has very real consequences for the policies we get, the amount we pay in taxes, the services we receive, the world we want.

00:60 Suffolk University has won awards for the high level of voting in national elections - the silver medal from the all-in campus challenge.

01:10 We are so proud of our accomplishments but we know we can do more and this year we're going for gold.

01:18 In most states, before you can actually cast a ballot, you must register to vote first.

01:23 Some states like Massachusetts require that you register 20 days before an election.

01:28 Other states - like New Hampshire - permit you to register the same day as the election.

01:37 Where you register to vote is determined by where you live.

01:40 So if you live in Boston, even in a dorm, you can register to vote in Boston.

01:45 If you want to vote in your home state but cannot get there on the actual election day, then you'll want to get an absentee ballot from your local election office.

01:53 Which essentially means that you vote by mail.

01:56 Requesting an absentee ballot takes time, however.

01:58 Which is why we say "plan ahead".

02:00 And you cannot vote absentee unless you are registered to vote.

02:04 In many states you can register to vote online.

02:12 If you're uncertain about any of this of have questions, people in the Center for Community Engagement are happy to help.

02:20 They have voter registration forms available, and they can answer all of your questions - so don't be afraid to ask.