The town of Brunswick will not provide early voting in Smith Union this year despite the success of last year's Early Vote Day.

Town Clerk Fran Smith called the change the result of a "resource issue."

"The reason that we're not doing it is that we're reconsolidating our polling locations," Smith said. "We're opening [early voting] up to the entire public and that will be at the Recreation Center this weekend."

Even though the early voting at David Saul Smith Union was open to all Brunswick residents, "people weren't familiar with the College as the location where they would have to go...we utilized this Saturday to be available for all folks," Smith said.

The town anticipates a high number of absentee voters and the switch to the Recreation Center will, according to Smith, help to accommodate all of them.

The question of whether out-of-state students should register in Maine or absentee vote in their own states is one that has caused some controversy over the past few years.

In 2007, for example, State Representative Gary Knight introduced a bill that would prevent out-of-state students from voting in Maine if they lived in college or university housing. The bill went nowhere but students still face the decision of where to register.

"I already sent in my absentee ballot," said first year and first-time voter Matt Mathias. "I think I'll continue to vote in Maryland, I don't know anything about Maine politics."

President of the Bowdoin College Republicans Steve Robinson '11 added, "Bowdoin students should care about Maine elections, but, unless they are from Maine, they should not vote...I think the success of the people's veto in 2009 demonstrated the insignificance of student votes and left many hopey-changers disillusioned with political activism on campus."

"I don't really have an opinion [on out-of-state college voters]," said Smith. "We follow what the law says and state law allows students to establish where they feel their residence is. If students feel that this is where they want to establish their residence then the law allows them to register. I personally don't have an opinion, I just follow what the law says."

Associate Professor of Government Michael Franz called complaints about college students voting outside their home state "unfair."

"People move in and out of state all the time but college students tend to get beat up for voting in states they don't live in," Franz said.

Franz also noted that many naval officers and retirees vote in Maine without confronting disapproval despite the fact that they too may not live in the state for more than a few years.

"I do think my opinion is the consensus," Franz said. "But every now and then there will be a candidate—usually, but not always, a conservative—who will try to make that argument during a close election in a college town...I don't think it makes sense as a political argument, but it happens."

Senior and Maine resident Melissa Anson agreed, noting that choice of where to register is one that depends largely on the individual person.

"I don't really mind [out of state students voting]," Anson said. "At least students who work here, some of their taxes go to Maine, and we do live here for [four] years; if they feel like they identify with Maine and they feel a connection and they care about what goes on here, I don't see a problem. I think they should vote somewhere and if they feel more connected to Bowdoin and where they're living now than they do to their home state then they should vote here."

Bowdoin College Democrats Co-President Katy Shaw '11 added, "I think Bowdoin students should be informing themselves about local issues and then exercising the right to vote, either in Brunswick or at home. The decision about where to vote is about what community you feel most affiliated with. For me, that is Brunswick."

Absentee voting in Brunswick will be held at the Recreation Center (30 Federal Street) on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Smith also urged Bowdoin students to remember that if they've moved since last year, they must make sure to update their voter registration prior to voting.

-Peter Davis contributed to this report.