Making the Most of Your Right to Vote Absentee

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Abby Miller | Society Staff Writer | am166317@ohio.edu

Walking around campus, I’ve been asked by numerous people with clipboards in hand if I’d like to register to vote. I always turn them down, feeling a bit rude afterwards. As an out of state student, I’m registered to vote in the state of Illinois already. The first election I voted in was, Illinois’ primary election for Governor and I am currently in the process of requesting my absentee ballot for the Gubernatorial general election. Some people applaud my dedication to exercising my right to vote while I’m seven hours from home. Others say I’m wasting my time. But for me, the biggest concern is if other out of state students are exercising their right to vote and know how to do so correctly.

There is a ton of awareness about voting in Athens, which is something I appreciate. Some of my professors have stressed to our classes that we should vote in the upcoming elections or register to vote. Yet, only one of my professors has reminded our class about absentee ballots, too. We all can do a better job about raising awareness about requesting absentee ballots. A vote is a vote, and absentee ballots are just one way to bring yourself to the polls.

However, some out of state students just don’t care about voting in general. Like freshman Jolie Boros who says, “I don’t feel like my vote would matter in the end”. Boros is from Illinois and says that she won’t be requesting her absentee ballot.

This is the stigma that many people who would need to request for an absentee ballot have, that their vote is one out of thousands. The process of requesting an absentee ballot can be annoying with mailing papers back to one’s home state and some people simply don’t have the time to engage in this process. These people then rationalize that since there’s a large pool of voters back at home, one person not voting through an absentee ballot won’t make a difference.

But consider the impact this has on a larger scale: if thousands of out of state college students have this mentality, thousands of votes will be lost. In tight elections, especially primaries, these votes can tip the scale in either direction. This idea is true for presidential elections as well.

However, other out of state students seem to have different sentiments. Another Illinois resident who is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, Madison Signor, seemed more enthusiastic about voting from out of state.

“Even though I’m not in my home state at the moment, I would still like to have a say in what goes on there,” Signor says via text message.

OU freshman from Iowa, Emily McVicker, echoed a similar sentiment. “It’s important for me to know I have a say in who I want to represent me,” McVicker says via text.

Out of state students who decide to vote should be informed how to correctly request an absentee ballot and the instructions for filling out their ballot. Be sure to make special note of the deadlines involved in order to make the most of your first amendment right.

The deadline to register to vote in Ohio for the November election is October 9, 2018.

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