Thursday, October 22, 2020

Students opt for absentee ballots in midterm elections

November 2, 2018
The Primary Election voting location for precinct 4 at Murphy Elementary School on August 7, 2018.
The Primary Election voting location for precinct 4 at Murphy Elementary School on August 7, 2018. —
Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

After a long campaign cycle, the midterm elections are arriving Nov. 6. As election days always fall on Tuesdays, some college students are unable to commute to vote in their hometowns. For students who will be away from their polling location and want to vote from East Lansing, filling out an absentee voter ballot is an option.

Absentee ballot information

Ballot applications must be mailed to the East Lansing City Clerk's office by tomorrow, Nov. 3. The office will be open that day to issue and receive absentee ballots from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The final chance to apply for and receive a ballot in person is Nov. 5 by 4 p.m., and ballots must be returned to the city clerk's office on Election Day by 8 p.m. For students who are registered back home and will be on campus, they can send their ballot to their local city clerk.

East Lansing City Clerk Jennifer Shuster said citizens should be prepared for Election Day. 

“It's very important that people do their research beforehand and make a plan for themselves so they are able to vote,” Shuster said.

The clerk's office has booths set up in the lobby for people to fill out the one-page application to request their ballot. You can also take the ballot home and turn it in to the 24-hour drop box in the parking lot of City Hall. First-time voters should bring a photo ID.

Shuster said it is required by law for city clerk offices to be open this Saturday to issue and receive ballots.

“We highly recommend coming in-person to get those ballots versus having it mailed to you that late in the game,” she said.

Voters can track their ballot through the secretary of state.

“It'll show when we received their application, when we mailed them a ballot and when we received their voting ballot,” Shuster said. “That's all indicated on there. It's a very helpful tool that the secretary of state has and I'm really trying to push it so people can track that information.”

Student voters

Social work sophomore Sue Nguyen filled out an absentee ballot to vote in her hometown of Grand Rapids. She said students usually have classes on Tuesdays and do not have the time to vote at home.

“It’s a way for college students to use their voices,” she said. “Usually college students, they're really low on the voting scale. So, it’s a good way for us to get up there.”

She votes because she complains about societal issues and feels its a duty to try and create change.

“If I complain and don't use my voice in society — which is voting — then I'm part of the problem,” she said. “I feel like that applies to a lot of people, as well.”

Senior and psychology major Kajiah Manley is from Detroit, but is registered to vote in Lansing. 

Manley said students should consider absentee ballots if they cannot make it home to vote and would rather cast a vote for their hometown than in the Lansing area.

“Their voice should still be heard so they should still send in those ballots so that their votes can count,” she said. “We are the ones who will be impacted in the long run with whoever's in office and the decisions they decide to make."

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