While this year’s election may well come down to a small number of votes in the swing states, a new Web site was launched on Sept. 19 to help college students determine where their vote will count most.

To ensure that college students make educated decisions about where to cast their ballots, the software company Front Seat created the Web site CountMore.org, which shows students whether their vote will be more valuable in their home state or state of their school.

In 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that college students can choose whether they want to register to vote in their home state or state of their university, but many students do not realize that that they have such a choice or how important their decision could be, according to Front Seat Chief Technology Officer Matt Lerner.

“In 2004, we were registering voters like crazy on college campuses in swing states. Many students didn’t realize they had the option of voting at school or at home. We built CountMore.org to show students where their vote counts more and to encourage them to vote,” Lerner said. “Thousands of students from Florida go out of state for college. If they would have voted back home [in 2000], it could have changed the election.”

The site calculates where a vote holds more weight by determining which state is more of a swing state. States are categorized according to their likelihood to tip the election this year and the margin of victory in the 2004 election. The Web site then recommends that students vote in the state which is most likely to sway the results of the election. This year, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, Colorado and Florida make up the top-tier group of swing states.

While many argue that students do not usually have a vested interest in the state they go to school in and therefore should not be able to cast a ballot in that state, Lerner disagrees.

“In most states, you can register to vote in that state after living their 30 days,” he said. “Why would students be treated differently?”

According to Scott Fleming (SFS ’72), associate vice president for federal relations at Georgetown, many students end up establishing a permanent residence in the state where they went to college after graduation. There are 10,358 identified alumni in the District of Columbia, 17,108 living in Virginia and 14,532 living in Maryland, Fleming said.

“I think it is fair to say that some Georgetown students, after graduation, return to their home areas. Many others relocate in the Washington area, and still others end up elsewhere altogether,” he said. “[The numbers are a] clear indicator that many Georgetown students end up staying in the metropolitan D.C. area.”

Recently, misleading and false information about voting rights for students has been spread around college campuses. At Virginia Tech, many students believed that if out-of-state students register to vote in Virginia, they risk losing their health and auto insurance, and their parents will no longer be able to claim them as dependents on income tax returns. CountMore.org has been working to dispel these rumors and also provide more information to students about where to register and how, if necessary, to obtain an absentee ballot.

Since the District of Columbia is a not considered a swing state and has no voting representative in Congress, Georgetown students almost always choose to vote in their home states.

“The voting situation in D.C. is a travesty, and we don’t want to encourage people to register – or re-register – in a city that is disenfranchised,” Alex Armstrong (COL ’09), press secretary for the Georgetown University College Democrats, said. “Of course, the College Democrats make sure to provide information for registering anywhere in the country, but if a student asks for a recommendation, we almost always suggest registering in his or her home state.”

GU Votes ’08, a joint venture between GUCD and the Georgetown University College Republicans that educates and registers students, also encourages Georgetown students to vote by absentee ballot.

“Through the GU Votes ’08 effort, students are usually told to use their home state or wherever their permanent address is,” Ellen Dargie (COL ’10), chair of GUCR, said.

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