Absentee is better than absent

Out-of-state Poets rely on mail-in ballots to cast their votes

Séamus Woods


In case you were not yet aware, we are only three weeks away from the midterm elections. While it seems like the tag of “most important election ever” gets thrown around seemingly every election cycle, few can argue the importance of Nov. 6 to our country’s immediate future. While most students will get to vote in their home polling place, many of us cannot simply get on a plane and fly across the country to place our vote. For the section of the student body from the other 37 states represented on campus, absentee ballots may be their first ever voting experience. So, what exactly is an absentee ballot, and what deadlines do students on campus have to meet in order for their vote to be counted?

While most students will be deciding which democratic representative they like better, the students who are from out of state arguably have an even greater responsibility to vote. Students from swing states like Pennsylvania or Ohio could play a critical difference in the outcomes of the election. In the 2016 election, only 50 percent of young people voted. That is eight percent less compared to the national average. 

Young people historically have been one of the most underrepresented voices come election seasons in this country, and one of the largest contributing factors to this is how many of us live outside of our home states. 

However, even if you are not living at home, there is still a way for you to get your voice heard with an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots are mail-in votes that every state in the U.S. offers (although deadlines and the processes by which you have to request the ballot may differ state to state). 

To start this process, one first has to apply for an absentee ballot through their home state. Deadlines for applying can range anywhere from just one day before the election to the earliest deadline of 11 days prior in Arizona. To find out your state’s deadline, check www.vote.org/absentee-ballot-deadlines/. While some states offer this process to be done partially online, the majority require this to be done by mail, so it is imperative that you know your mailing address here at college. 

Voting is an American right and should be treated as one of the most important things you can do. Instead, we, as young people, often lessen the value of this act, seeing it as nothing more than a time–consuming and boring process that ultimately does not even matter in the big scheme of things. However, it is this apathy that prevents our nation from truly changing. So please, whether it be going to your local polling place on Nov. 6, or sending your ballot to your home state, go out and vote.