Voting season is upon us, and during these trying times, both candidates are using extreme safety precautions during their campaign run. You are either at home for school, or you are on or near campus this school year, and you are wondering if your vote matters. And where you can receive accurate resources to provide you with accurate information regarding each candidate and how you can vote safely. Well keep reading to find out!
Why Your Vote Matters
Without voting, we wouldn’t have a fair system.
First thing’s first, your vote matters more than anything right now. No matter how or where, your vote matters for these reasons: community, equality, and still showing that we all care as a society. By this, we mean that voting isn’t just something that is political, it is proving that all of us, including young people, still care and matter in the time when we know that something is not right in our system, and it needs to be improved So we are given a few candidates that vye for the attention and showcase their care for the economy and other parts of government that are often overshadowed by other issues that may be of little concern for many.
Another reason for why voting matters is, young people are not only impressionable, but they have the power to ultimately impress older, even wiser, generations that they care just as much as the next person. This isn’t a competition to prove who is the most democratic or best republican, and believe it or not, party does not matter. What matters is how as a country, and as young people, we can bring others together and think critically on how we can approach problems later in the future.
According to a blog post on Defend Your Future, your vote matters more than ever. As the writer says in the last paragraph, “don’t let those with dollar signs in their hearts sign policies”. (Defend Your Future). This voting year, don’t rely on not voting because you are not only misrepresenting yourself, but also the entire population of this great country. Remember, when you go into the voting booths this year, or you are voting by mail, don’t vote just to vote, vote for change. Vote for a care in your country, not the higher ups’ next paycheck.
How To Vote
Voting is crucial, don’t vote just to vote.
If you are concerned about how to get to the polls this election year, or if the process is still too new and you have more questions than answers, we’re here to help. Below, we have listed the types of ways you can vote, where you can seek more information on local government and presidential candidates. Also, we will go over what types of ways you can vote, and the answers to your burning questions.
First things first, let’s start with the questions.
We have many questions as well, and we are prepared to answer as many as possible.
Believe it or not, but most college students believe their votes are trivial; that it doesn’t matter if they vote or not, because they believe their votes don’t matter. We’re here to tell you, those students are wrong. Many students who think this are first time voters, and they are just as lost as the next person is in regards to who to vote for, what issues or beliefs does the candidate have that they agree with, and how exactly to vote.
Here’s a scenario: you decided to go out of state for college, and during COVID-19, we know that it was a decision that involved more risks than usual. Now, we are nearing the election, and you are wondering how you can vote if you are out of state. So, how do you vote if you are an out of state student?
We understand the difficulty and confusion that comes with voting out of state. We have a solution to your problem. There is a loophole to this problem: you can choose where to send your ballot. Yes, you can be a resident in two different states, but you cannot vote twice. There are plenty of ways to figure out this process, and many student offices in universities and colleges will have papers filled with registration requirements and step-by-step guides on how to cast the ballot from either your home state or the state your school is in. Of course, it will also tell you how to vote. The only downside to this is, many states have firm deadlines of when to cast your vote. In the case of this, you would apply as an absentee ballot, which is essentially an easier way to say that you are no longer living in your home state, but you are still voting from another place.
For more information on how to vote, be sure to check out vote.org where they will have everything you will need to know on voting. Also, there is a small timer to remind you of when voting day is.
What if you are an in-state student?
Fortunately, you have the ability to vote in your home state. Whether you are voting from school, or if you commute and vote from your home address, as long as you are a registered voter, you will not need to do much else but bring proof of your home states residency and an idea of who you are voting for.
Wait, what if you are not able to leave campus because you or someone you may know has the Coronavirus?
Like many places around the country, and the world, people are becoming more cautious to individuals’ health and are creating safe areas for those who are more vulnerable to vote without worrying about getting sick. On the other hand, if you do happen to come down sick, or if you may have been exposed, or you simply don’t want to risk becoming sick when going to the polls, you have the option to opt in sending a mail-in ballot instead.
If you are interested in requesting a mail in ballot, all you have to do is send in a mail ballot application, and be sure to fill the form out completely. For example, the Illinois State Board of Elections has their own process on how to request a mail-in ballot and guidelines as well. Each state’s regulations and guidelines differ, and we recommend contacting your state’s Board of Elections office for more information.
How do you vote in person?
No, you should not just show up and say you want to vote. It doesn’t work like that. No matter how much we would like it to work like that, it just doesn’t. You have two options on voting in person. You can either vote early, which will run this year from Thursday, September 24th until Monday, November 2, 2020. Depending on where you live, though, hours and days may vary from place to place.
If you are looking forward to voting on the real election day, which is Tuesday, November 3, voting will work like normal; you stand in line, give the attendants your verification to vote, go right into a booth, and vote. As far as what to bring, you will need: a state ID or a driver’s license verifying your age and your home address, if you are an experienced voter, and if you are inexperienced, you will need an ID or driver’s license, your last four digits of your social security card, or a copy of a government document showing your name and address when you registered to vote. You are free to use a copy of a current and valid photo ID, or a student ID, or whatever else that shows who you are.
If you do not have your ID, you are still able to vote, there is just a small process you will need to go through before casting a vote. If you do not have an ID, you will be able to do something called a provisional ballot, which is a small questionnaire that asks you to certify your eligibility before your vote can be counted.
Ways You Can Vote
Don’t feel lost in the process.
Voting in Person
We are just as eager as you to get to the polls and vote, and whether that is through mail or in person, we are making sure our votes count and matter while figuring out the best option to cast our vote. The first option is voting in person. With voting in person, especially during the Coronavirus, you will be given safety precautions and designated areas to go to when you are voting in person.
Absentee and Voting by Mail
Absentee and early voting will be a big voting protocol among many people, including young people if they do vote. As far as absentee voting goes, you are allowed to request a mail in ballot to use to cast your vote. There are many websites that’ll lead you to your state’s guidelines on requesting an absentee ballot, like Can I Vote, a website that provides you with a way to click on a state from their drop down menu so you can view their absentee ballot voting page. The absentee ballot will also need an acceptable excuse before sending out an absentee ballot, and guidelines for excuses vary by state. However, due to the Coronavirus, many states are being lenient in requests for absentee ballots.
As election day approaches, many states are still in talks of how they will go about using absentee ballots and who will be able to receive one. We recommend visiting your local or state election office page to find out what you need to do to request an absentee ballot.
Varying from state to state, each one has their own time frame for early voting, and how voting will be given will vary, especially during the Coronavirus Pandemic. If you would like an idea of how your state normally does early voting, we recommend checking out this early voting chart to find your state's time frame for early voting, and if it is being offered. Each state varies, and more rules may be stated before early voting begins.
Dates and Deadlines
It’s always important to keep track of all of the dates for the election, especially if you need to plan ahead of time.
If you are not sure when certain deadlines are, take a look at this time table for Voter Registration Deadlines. It lists each state’s deadlines for voting. Knowing when a certain deadline is, especially when election day is, is important to know, especially for young people. If more young people looked forward to election day, there would be more of an ability to overthrow bad politics.
If you know for certain who you will vote for, if you are still unsure, we recommend going out and learning about each candidate before deciding on who you would like to vote for. We highly recommend voting, because without young people, democracy would not be the same. As many of us know, through the generations the United States of America has experienced, young people have been the ones to make a huge impact, and leave lasting impressions on faces of those to come. No matter who you choose, or how you vote, your choice matters, and so does your voice.