With all of the uproar over the recent presidential debates, politics are on everyone’s mind. Unfortunately, we’ve still got 13 more months until the nation gets to select the next leader of the free world.

However, in just a few weeks, there is another set of elections. What people, and students in particular, are often not thinking about are the upcoming local elections.

For many students, being away at college is reason enough not to vote. School, work and socializing take over, and the time-sucking college trio divert attention away from even the most important of outside events. There is, however, an easy solution for this — absentee voting. Any individual that is eligible to vote can request an absentee ballot, and their local ordinance will send the appropriate ballot in the mail. This way, students can vote for local issues from their hometown without ever going farther than the nearest mailbox.

The Grand Valley State University student senate recognizes the importance of voting. They gave students an opportunity to register to vote through the Secretary of State mobile office, which was on campus during two days last week. Details on the process of requesting an absentee ballot and submitting it were also available at the mobile office.

For those who missed this chance, the deadline to obtain an absentee ballot is Saturday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person the first time they vote. To get around this restriction, students can register in person or visit their local clerk to request an absentee ballot.

In order to make sure the only thing you have to worry about on Oct. 31 is your Halloween costume, make sure to register for your absentee ballot if you can’t make it home. Do your duties as an American citizen, and you can enjoy Halloween without regret this fall.

According to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, only about 23 percent of people aged 18 to 34 voted in the 2014 elections. This was a non-president election year, and these incredibly low voter turnout numbers are typical of a non-presidential election year. While the presidential election has the most flash and fame attached to it, local elections are actually far more important.

Voting is a great way to get your voice heard, and voting in local elections has immediate effect on your life. From mayoral decisions to millage rate increases, voting in your local elections can have an impact on your day-to-day life.

If you think you won’t have time to do your duty as an American citizen, think again. Voting in this November’s election cycle is far more important than voting for a president ever will be. For more information about how to request an absentee ballot or to find out what will be on the ballot for your hometown, visit www.michigan.gov/vote.