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Voters Must Register by Feb. 14

By Kathryn M. Meneely

Massachusetts' government officials have decided to have a heart: they're using Valentine's Day as the deadline to register to vote in next month's presidential primary.

Students planning to cast ballots in the March 5 primary must register with the Cambridge Election Commission by February 14.

"People who are concerned should make an effort to get out and vote," Teresa Neighbor, executive director of the commission, said yesterday. "In presidential primaries, turnout always tends to be low."

According to former Cambridge mayor Alice K. Wolf, financial aid issues may draw more students to the polls this year.

"Right now, the student loan program is up for grabs," Wolf said in an interview. "The program that President Clinton proposed is being attacked by the Republicans.... This could affect a lot of students."

Wolf said student participation in elections is usually "very spotty."

But she added that in presidential election years, "there is usually a pretty good influx [of student voters]."

The voting locations for several of Cambridge's precincts will be on the Harvard campus, Neighbor said.

To vote in Massachusetts, out-of-state students must declare Massachusetts residency. Mail-in affidavits are available at the registrar's office and local public libraries, schools and post offices. They must be postmarked by midnight on February 14.

Students can also register in person at the election commission, located at 362 Green St., until 8 p.m. that night.

Registering in Cambridge invalidates voting rights in other states and therefore may disqualify students for state-sponsored scholarships.

Neighbor said concerned students should consult their home election offices

But she added that in presidential election years, "there is usually a pretty good influx [of student voters]."

The voting locations for several of Cambridge's precincts will be on the Harvard campus, Neighbor said.

To vote in Massachusetts, out-of-state students must declare Massachusetts residency. Mail-in affidavits are available at the registrar's office and local public libraries, schools and post offices. They must be postmarked by midnight on February 14.

Students can also register in person at the election commission, located at 362 Green St., until 8 p.m. that night.

Registering in Cambridge invalidates voting rights in other states and therefore may disqualify students for state-sponsored scholarships.

Neighbor said concerned students should consult their home election offices

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