College Students Can Cast Absentee Ballots
By Jessica Estremera, graduate student, School for Graduate Studies
October 5, 2012
As Election Day nears, millions of Americans will be casting absentee ballots to choose the next president of the United States. According to the U.S. Census Current Population Survey, in 2010 college students made up 27 percent of the country’s voting population. As more students attend colleges outside of their home state, supporters of both political parties of next month's presidential election are stressing the significance of absentee ballot programs.
Even if a student is away at school, it is important for him or her to participate in the civic life of his or her home state through voting. Out-of-state students can participate via absentee voting, which affords them the opportunity to strengthen support for candidates and legislation in their home state regardless of their residential status.
Paul Gronke, a political scientist at Reed College and an expert on early voting, told the The Washington Post that he anticipates early and absentee voting numbers to be higher than in 2008, largely due to recent polls that show low levels of indecision among voters.
It is important to request an absentee ballot as soon as possible. A voter requesting an absentee ballot must do so every calendar year. Rules regarding absentee ballots vary by state and territory. To request a ballot, voters can visit canivote.org and choose the appropriate options and state.
It is essential that residents of battleground states participate in their state’s elections because voters of these states play a decisive role in the election.
Below are five battleground states that will play a crucial role in the outcome of next month’s election and their absentee ballot application deadlines.
Florida- Oct. 31 by 5 p.m.
Virginia- Oct. 30 by mail and Nov. 3 in person
Colorado- Oct. 30
Wisconsin- Nov. 1 by 5 p.m.
Ohio- Saturday Nov. 3
To request a New York state absentee ballot, the deadline to apply is Oct. 30 by mail and Nov. 5 in person.
Typically these ballots are mailed, though some states provide provisions for emailing, faxing or delivering ballots in person to a designated location. First-time voters may have to attach a copy of a photo I.D. with home address when mailing back the ballot.
A voter must request an absentee ballot at least a week before the election, occurs although Rhode Island has the earliest application deadline of Oct. 16. This year’s election date is Tuesday, Nov. 6.