While most St. John’s students are from the five boroughs and Long Island, a growing number have a longer distance to their local polling station, making it more difficult to cast a ballot on Election Day.
So what do these students do when it comes to voting? For the people who feel most strongly about it, submitting their vote and representing their state through an absentee ballot has been their way of making their voice heard.
The increased access to absentee ballots and early voting options in some states has made it easier on students here at St. John’s to cast their ballot, and made voting easier for everybody.
Though absentee ballots count the same as a traditional vote, how and when absentee ballots are counted depends on each states individual laws and regulations. Some states start counting their ballots after the polls close on Election Day; some start when polls open on Election Day; some have specific times that they start and end on
Election Day and others might even start days before hand. For example, New York begins counting its absentee ballots on Election Day, but Florida starts counting its absentee ballots at 7 a.m. on the 15th day before the election.
Melissa Brazilia, a sophomore who is currently studying abroad on the St. John’s Rome campus shared her excitement about representing our country all the way from across the world.
“It feels amazing to vote. I feel like I took a stance in my opinion,” Brazilia, a registered Democrat, said. “I made it my obligation to send a ballot from abroad. It was a lot of work to do so but the Democrat[s] Abroad program made it very easy for us Democrat students to still be involved.” She added that being able to vote at all was what mattered most to her, regardless of how it was submitted.
Another sophomore, Karen Johnson, who is from North Carolina, shared the same feelings of excitement about being able to vote for the very first time. Although Johnson wished she could have voted in her hometown, she is happy that she even voted at all.
“It is definitely important for people to do absentee ballots. Even if you are away from
home you should still want to represent your state and do what you think is right to help it move forward.”
She said that she was glad she made a difference, especially being from a swing state.
“For the first time in many years my county voted Democratic [in 2008] after being a Republican county. So it proved the point that young people really do have a say.”