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As primary season continues, there are many students here at St. John’s who are unaware of the fact that they are able to vote even when they can’t be physically present in their state.
According to the College Board, 29 percent of students who are currently enrolled in the university are from states outside of New York.
For those who face this situation, the way to make sure your vote counts is to register for an absentee ballot.
What are absentee ballots?
Absentee ballots are voting ballots that are completed by people who are unable to present themselves at their appointed polling locations. These ballots are very useful for military personnel, citizens overseas, a person who is injured in any way, and even college students who are studying out of state.
Therefore, with an absentee ballot, students can participate in any and all elections – whether it be their home state’s presidential primaries or the general elections that are taking place in November.
How do you register for one?
Every state has its own set of requirements and deadlines when registering for an absentee ballot.
You can get this information by visiting your state’s website for elections, or by Googling “the-name-of-your-state absentee ballots,” or even by heading to Long Distance Voter.
Before you do anything though, you must be registered to vote in your state. If you didn’t do this automatically when you received your driver’s license, you can find a voter registration form online (or Long Distance Voter), and mail it to your state’s elections office.
After making sure you are registered to vote, you can apply for an absentee ballot. The form will ask you the same basic questions as the form used for voter registration that you initially filled out.
Additionally, it will ask you the reason why you will not be able to present yourself at your appointed polls for election day.
After completing this, you will be able to choose whether you want the absentee ballot sent to you via email or mail. However, when you send back your ballot, you will have to send it by mail with a postmarked envelope that is sent to you along with the ballot.
The important thing to remember is that in order for your vote to be taken into consideration, your absentee ballot must get to the elections office by the due date stated for your particular state.
Why should you register for one?
Although this seems like a lengthy process, there are students and administrators that understand that registering to vote is significant, especially for presidential elections.
Dr. Diane Heith, professor and chair of the Department of Government and Politics, states, “It is important to vote, people shouldn’t throw away the opportunity to make their voice heard because it requires some paperwork and planning.”
Similarly, Miprince Norvil, a student from Texas, says, “It’s important to vote for me, as a youth in America, because it is our time to decide which way America will go,” she continued, “we will have to live with whatever laws are created by the person elected so why not elect someone who has the same, or close, values as yourself?”
Sophomore Norvil added, “This is why it’s extremely important for me to get an absentee ballot, since I will be in New York during the election period, and every vote counts.”