By Kyla Guilfoil, Editor-in-Chief
Midterm elections are on their way, but most Manhattan College students won’t be in the zip code they registered to vote in when Election Day comes. So, how can they vote?
There are a couple different ways a student can vote, even if they can’t go to their voting district on Nov. 8. For one, students can apply for an absentee ballot, which is essentially when the government mails you a ballot rather than going to a voting site to sign a ballot there.
To apply for an absentee ballot, you can go to the National Associations of Secretaries of State (NASS) website, type “Can I vote?” in the search bar, and then select “absentee & early voting.” Here, you are able to click any state in the U.S. to be directed to the proper information.
On your state’s page, you will see the breakdown of any upcoming elections, including their date, the early voting time window and the dates for securing an absentee ballot on time.
For most states, you can request an absentee ballot via mail up to 15 days before the election, which would be Oct. 24 this year. You can also request an absentee ballot the day before the election, Nov. 7, if you request the ballot in person in your voting district.
All absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 8 or dropped off in your voting district by 9 p.m. on Nov. 8. Officials suggest voters mail their ballots prior to Election Day as ballots received past a certain time will not be postmarked until the following business day.
Requirements for obtaining an absentee ballot vary from state to state, but most will uphold the following circumstances: being unable to arrive at your polling place due to illness, injury or disability; being on business, travel or vacation outside of your county or city of residence on Election Day; or being a student at an out-of-state college or university.
For most applications for absentee ballots, you must check which acceptable circumstance covers your need for an absentee ballot, as well as basic personal information such as your full name, birth date and address.
If you are unable to go to the area of your voting district on Election Day itself, but can go sometime in the days leading up to Election Day, you can likely participate in early voting.
Most states either allow early voting or in-person absentee voting, with varying time windows. Visit the National Conference of State Legislature’s website to find the specific rules for the state that you are registered to vote in by using the search bar to find a page called “Early In-Person Voting.”
Early voting windows range from three days to 46 days, and can start as early as 55 days prior to the election or as late as the Friday before Election Day. A total of 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, allow for Saturday voting in their early voting windows. Another seven states allow county clerks to establish Saturday voting availability.
A total of six states, including New York, allow early voting on Sundays during their early voting windows. Another seven states allow county clerks to determine if Sunday voting is available.
In New York, for example, you can vote early beginning 10 days before the election, including weekends. Then, early voting for New Yorkers closes two days before the election.
In Pennsylvania, you can vote early via in-person absentee ballots up to 50 days before the election until 5 p.m. on the first Tuesday prior to day of election.
Despite the varying rules across the country, there are opportunities for students to vote in their district even if they can’t leave campus on Election Day.
To learn more about the upcoming election and how to participate, visit USA.gov, select “About Us” at the bottom of the home page and then select “Contact USA.gov” and or visit the website Vote411.