Rock the vote: Not in Williamsburg

Hilary Swank is for it. So are Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

They are a few of the celebrities who have jumped on the presidential election year bandwagon to urge young people to register to vote.

One person notably unswayed is the registrar of voters in Williamsburg, whose refusal to allow three William and Mary students to register went to court early this month.

The three were attempting a run for city council in Williamsburg. When the registrar refused to allow them to register to vote, the ACLU of Virginia took up their cause.

On March 2, a U.S. district court judge refused to order Williamsburg registrar R. Wythe Davis to let the students register. The Williamsburg circuit court, however, upheld the right of one of the students to register, while telling another she had to vote in her hometown of Roanoke.

The resistance toward registering student voters is hardly limited to Williamsburg. Montgomery County, where Blacksburg and its 21,000 Virginia Tech undergrads are located, has also rejected student voter applications, according to the Collegiate Times. Farmville did not look kindly upon Longwood University students' desire to register where they attend school.

Are UVA students here in Charlottesville sent packing back to their hometowns to vote, or are they allowed to register here?

"Absolutely," says Charlottesville registrar Sheri Iachetta. "They're adults. We believe them when they say they live here."

Iachetta registers hundreds of students at the UVA Bookstore every fall, and she says her Albemarle County counterpart is equally excited about having students on the voting rolls.

"It's important to get people to register to vote where they believe they live," says Iachetta. She disagrees with the Williamsburg registrar, but acknowledges that the state allows registrars leeway in determining who can vote.

There are some ramifications to where one registers. For example, out-of-state students with scholarships could lose them, explains Iachetta, and there can be tax implications.

And there could be ramifications for Charlottesville, as well, if all of UVA's nearly 20,000 students decided to register here and take over City Council.

But that's another story.

Sheri Iachetta has no problem with registering students to vote, unlike her counterpart in Williamsburg.