Northeastern Votes

About Northeastern Votes

Co-founded in 2020, the Northeastern Voter Engagement Coalition is a coalition of students, staff, and faculty working to promote voter education, registration, and turnout.

Building off the years of work by the Student Government Association (SGA) and other groups seeking to mobilize voters, the Coalition hope to institutionalize democratic engagement efforts across the growing Northeastern network.

NU student voting by the numbers

Northeastern University participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement to receive data about our student’s voting rates. Get involved in the Coalition to contribute to our goal of 100% voter engagement.

The bar graph on the right describes the growth of Northeastern voting rates in the past few years.

Voter Resources

Our primary goal is to support students in the voter registration process!

Explore the resources below to register to vote, stay informed about elections, educate yourself on the voting process, and ensure your timely participation at the polls or with your absentee ballot.

I need to register to vote

You will need to register to vote if you:

  • Moved since the last election
  • Recently turned 18 years old
  • Are registering for the first time

Register easily through Northeastern’s TurboVote link which will provide direct access to your state’s registration page. Be sure to register before your state voter registration deadline!

I am already registered to vote

Great job!

Here are resources from our voting partner to support your voting process:

Check your voter registration, register, and get election reminders
Request a mail in ballot
Review Voter ID laws
Find your Polling Location
Find out what’s on your ballot

General Voter Checklist

  1. Verify/Complete your registration.
    *Prior to any state deadlines
    • Register to vote.
    • Confirm your registration.
    • You may be eligible to pre-register to vote if you are over the age of 16. Learn and take action.
  2. Ensure your mailing and residential address are accurate and current.
  3. Learn about your state’s voting options.
    • Access your checklist below if you opt to vote by mail
    • Access your checklist below if you opt to vote in person

Vote In Person Checklist
  1. Set a time and a date to vote. Leave at least two hours. 
  2. Check your polling location for Election Day, your early voting polling locations, and voter ID laws
  3. Research the candidates and issues on your ballot
  4. VOTE!
Vote By Mail Checklist
  1. Request a mail ballot & send in any ID needed
    • You may request your absentee ballot online, through email, or by printing out your ballot and sending it in. Find your local elections office address here. See this picture for how to request an envelope.
    • If your state does not allow you to request a ballot online or email in a request and you do not have access to a printer, TurboVote will send you a pre-postage request form.
  2. Research the candidates and issues on your ballot
  3. Complete and submit your ballot as soon as you receive it
    • Look here for tips on making sure you fill out your ballot correctly.
    • Check to see if you need a witness or a notary. 
    • Make sure you have the right postage (some ballots are pre-paid). Undergraduates living on Campus, check your mailbox for stamps! 
    • You can place your completed ballot in a personal outgoing mailbox, a blue post office box, a ballot dropbox (only if you are in the community where you are voting), or bring your ballot to your local election office.

What is a Witness?

Witnesses can typically be anyone over the age that have to witness you filling out your ballot or your ballot signature. They typically have to write or sign their name on your ballot.

What is a Notary?

Notaries are state officials that can certify signatures. Check your state election website for notaries near you. Wait to sign your ballot until you are with the notary and be sure to bring an ID with you.
What do I do if my mail-in ballot hasn’t come in yet?

  1. If your state has vote by mail tracking, check to see if your ballot has been sent. Leave at least 10 days for it to arrive.
  2. Call your local elections office for a replacement ballot or to check the status of your ballot. 
  3. If you can’t reach your local elections office, look up the rules on applying for a replacement ballot or call the voter protection hotline (866-OUR-VOTE). You may be able to apply for another ballot online or with a paper form.
  4. Make a backup plan to vote in person. Check online to see if this is possible – you will likely have to cast a provisional ballot at the polls. If your ballot has arrived and you still want to vote in person, bring the ballot with you to the polls.

Voting Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I register to vote?

If you are currently residing in Boston or consider Boston to be your most recent home/permanent address, you are eligible to register and vote in Massachusetts. If you are residing in Boston, but have residence in another location that you consider home, you are eligible to vote in that state.

Can I still vote in Boston if I am away from campus?

If you intend to return back to the Boston campus in a future semester and consider Boston to be your home, you can register in Boston and request an absentee ballot.

When should I complete my voter readiness steps?

You should check your voter registration, register to vote, and request a mail ballot as early as possible.

Is it better to vote by mail or to vote in person?

This decision is completely up to you! Check to see if you qualify for mail voting. Note that your usual polling places might be closed, and also that you may need an excuse to vote by mail depending on your state.

What is the difference between absentee voting and vote by mail?

There is no difference. Absentee voting has traditionally described voting by mail when not in the state where you are registered to vote. Voting by mail describes a process where all registered voters can mail in a ballot.

Who’s on my ballot?

It’s not just presidential candidates that are on the ballot! State legislators, city councilors, governors, mayors, and ballot measures might appear on your ballot this year. Learn more about your candidates at

What to do if your ballot doesn’t arrive?

First, check to see when your state sends out mail ballots to voters at your state government’s website. Some states allow you to track your ballot’s location online. Feel free to also call your local election office. If you have not requested a ballot by your state’s deadline, plan to vote in person if you can. If you are not in your state, you can attempt to submit the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot ( This form is designed for those abroad but will sometimes be accepted from absentee voters in the continental United States.

If I requested a mail ballot, can I still vote in person?


Do I need to buy stamps and envelopes?

In many states, you can register to vote and request an absentee ballot online or by email. Some states will also mail you a pre-postaged ballot. If you do need stamps and envelopes to mail in forms or your ballot, you can find these resources at a post office or sometimes at a grocery store. TurboVote will mail you a registration form and absentee ballot request form if you sign up for their service.

Do I need a government ID to vote in person?

Do I need a government ID to vote in person?
In some states, you may need to show ID to register to vote, submit a mail ballot, or vote in person. Check out for a state by state breakdown

Where do I find a notary or a witness?

In some states, you will need witnesses to sign your mail in ballot. These can be anyone nearby – your family or your friends. A small number of states require that mail in ballots be notarized. If you are in your home state, your local election office will usually have recommended notaries listed.

Additional Information

Studying Abroad?

If you are a US citizen living abroad, you may still be eligible to vote. Learn about your options:

Ineligible to Vote?

Elections affect all of us. Join our team, you may be eligible to work the polls, and get out the vote with your local community.

How to Get Involved In the Coalition

There are three ways to get involved in the Northeastern Voter Engagement Coalition. Explore below the options to get involved.

Become a General Member:

Though there are no specific requirements or expectations of general members. General members are invited to:

  • Participate in the Quarterly Voter Engagement Coalition meetings
  • Access the NU Votes Teams Channel
  • Receive regular communications from the NU Votes team
  • Promote the coalition’s initiatives

Join a Working Group:

The 2022-23 student and staff co-led working groups are: 

  • Policy & Practice
  • Communications & Outreach
  • Events & On the Ground.

Working group members are asked to:

  • Participate in monthly team meetings 
  • Commit to the Coalition for one semester or the full academic year. 

Become a Student Ambassador:

More information about the new Student Ambassador program coming soon!

NU Votes Community Partners

In line with our commitment to voter engagement, NU Votes regularly cultivates partnerships with various local and national organizations to strengthen our work.

ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge: This DC-based organization empowers and recognizes colleges and universities to achieve excellence in nonpartisan student democratic engagement. Northeastern has received multiple recognitions from ALL In.

Campus Votes Project: The Campus Votes Project co-leads the Voter Friendly Campus Program, which recognizes institutions that create bi-annual action plans and submit reports following midterm and presidential elections. Northeastern was recognized as a Voter Friendly Campus most recently for the 21-22 academic year.

City of Boston Elections: We have a strong partnership with the City of Boston, and Northeastern offers two polling precincts on the Boston campus, as well as regularly recruits poll workers and other day of election roles. Contact us to be connected to one of the City of Boston’s Election Commissioners.