Published Sat, Oct 13, 2012 9:38 am Dateline
Early voting is underway and many Ohio University students face a tough decision.
The students are forced to decide if they want to vote absentee for their hometown candidates and issues - or vote in Athens where they live the majority of the year.
Athens County Republican Party Chair Pete Couladis says he encourages younger voters to exercise their rights, but often students aren't aware of the local elections and levies.
"I think a lot of it is just manipulation of the student voters to get them blindly just to show up and say you know if you're going to vote for president go vote now and then they're going to go and look at all these other names, these other races, tax levies, do they know anything about the tax levies and how to make an educated responsible vote?" says Couladis.
Couladis says that there are different parts to the ballot that students don't learn enough about because candidates have yet to distribute election information.
"It's not just president. You got judges, you got local candidates, and local candidates are just starting to send their materials out, you got school levies, other kind of levies that are on the ballot as well. What kind of informed, educated vote are they going to make when they show up to vote and they see all this stuff and they never heard anything about it," says Couladis.
Couladis says students should take their time to review before rushing to the polls.
Athens County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kathy Hecht says students should vote in Athens -- it doesn't change the Athens results much.
"It's more to our advantage than it is to the republican party and that's just the make up of Athens County and the students add to that but its already like that," says Hecht.
Hecht says there isn't much difference between an Athens County ballot or a hometown one for students.
"Any of the big races, say the presidential race, it doesn't matter where you vote, you can still vote for those people and most of the students live in Ohio so any state offices would be the same on the ballot. The other part to that is we do all that we can to educate students about our local officials," says Hecht.
Hecht says college students spend nine out of the 12 months at school away from their hometown.
However, she says the majority of students who register to vote on campus don't actually cast a ballot come Election Day.