This story was written by Liz O'Donnell, The Observer
Indiana's status as a possible swing state in the presidential elections has prompted many Notre Dame students to register to vote in the place they call home for eight months of the year, rather than their home state.
Students from states solidly in the blue or the red have decided their vote will make more of a difference this year if it is cast in Indiana, ND Votes '08 President Christine Romero said.
"We generally advised people that voting absentee would be much simpler, but many chose to register in Indiana anyway, considering the fact that Indiana is more of a swing state in this election," she said.
Indiana, which traditionally has voted Republican in presidential elections, joins Ohio, Florida, Michigan and other states projected to be swing states this year.
But the McCain and Obama campaigns have been encouraging students to send in absentee ballots if they are from prime battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
"I wanted my vote to count in this election, so I registered in Indiana," said Nathan Feldpausch, a freshman from Michigan. "Even though Michigan is a swing state, I felt that my vote would make more of an impact in Indiana."
Regardless of what state Notre Dame students are casting their ballots in, for most, this fall marks the first time members of the undergraduate community can vote in a presidential election.
Courtney Sands, a freshman from California, said she is thrilled to be able to exercise one of her fundamental rights as an American.
"It's pretty exciting to be voting for the first time," she said. "It's definitely weird to think that I'm finally going to be able to take part in such an important process that essentially defines America as a democracy."
But Sands, who is voting with an absentee ballot, said she does not think her vote will make much of a difference.
Sophomore Chelsi Gallegos, also from California, agreed with Sands.
"Unfortunately my vote probably will not reflect how the rest of my state votes because it does tend to sway on a certain side of the political spectrum, but I am proud of my party and will never miss the opportunity to exercise the right to vote because I value it greatly," Gallegos said.
Due to the global financial crisis, some students have chosen to take a second look at the candidates to see who proposed the better solution.
"I have always been highly conservative, but now that we are having such troubles with the economy, I want to make sure that my vote is as informed as possible," Winny Hu, a freshman from New York, said.
She added: "With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the economy doing as poorly as it is, this election is possibly the most important one that has taken place in our lifetime."
Gallegos pointed out that the presidential election is not the only important decision voters will make on Election Day.
"What will be equally important is electing the right senators and Congressmen to create and pass the kind of legislation that will help the economy get back on its feet," she said.