Sadly, only a small percentage of America's younger voters exercise the right to cast a ballot, even during a hotly contested presidential race. But they can't blame their lack of participation on red tape, at least not in York County.
The York County Election Commis-sion voted unanimously recently to change a policy that has made it difficult for college students living in dorms to register to vote in the county. Now, registration applications mailed in from students who live in the dorms will be processed the same as anyone else's application.
Under the old policy, dorms were classified as temporary residences. Students trying to register were asked a series of questions to verify that they had a permanent residence here and were qualified to register in the county.
The policy sparked a controversy in 2002 when registration applications were denied to about 110 Winthrop University students because they were dorm residents. Winthrop later added street names to campus streets so all students applying to vote as campus residents could claim a real physical address.
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Students who register in the county still will have to produce a document such as a driver's license, utility bill or bank statement that features a local address. Those presenting a driver's license with an address different from that on their voter registration cards could have their votes challenged.
Winthrop officials have supported efforts to register students locally. And York County Council Chairman Buddy Motz made a special request to the Election Commission to revamp its policy.
The revised policy is a healthy development. We should encourage more young people to get involved in the political process and vote, not impede their attempt to register.
Many Winthrop students were on campus last Saturday when the GOP presidential primary took place, and they are likely to be on campus this Saturday when the Democratic primary is held. And many of them will be in town next November for the general election.
It makes sense to let them vote in the county where they go to college, and we applaud the election Commission's willingness make changes in its policy that encourage participation in the democratic process.
York County Election Commission revised its policy to allow students to register to vote locally.