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Absentee voting: Easier than you might think

By Janae Price

Special to the Chronicle

According to a study by CNBC, 44 percent of 18-24 year-olds voted in 2008, but only 38 percent of 18-24 year-olds voted in 2012. With young adults making up over 20 percent of the eligible voting population why has this demographic reached record low turnout in recent years?

Statics show that college-aged voters simply don’t vote. In fact, The Campus Vote Project found that nearly 1.7 million young adults either didn’t know how to vote, where to register or missed deadlines.

Perhaps the biggest reason these people aren’t voting is because they are unaware of how to do so. One specific thing students don’t know much about is the absentee ballot process.

An absentee ballot is a vote cast by someone who is unable to vote or attend the official polling station of their county. In order to be eligible for an absentee ballot one must either be absent from their registered polling place on Election Day, or be unable to vote in person because of temporary or permanent illness or disability. A lot of students who dorm fall under the former category, meaning this process affects them directly.

When Erica Sattler, a junior film studies and production major was first informed about the absentee ballot process she was taken aback. “I didn’t know that you could only vote in the county you’re registered to vote in,” she said.

“I mean, I guess it makes sense. I just guess I never thought about it. I’ve never been too into politics so unfortunately, I was never too keen on this stuff.”

Sattler is not alone when it comes to being uncertain about the voting process. However, there is no need to fear, some facts are here.

While you won’t be able to vote if you are absent from the county that you are originally registered to vote in on Election Day, there is a solution.

The good news: for those Hofstra students who aren’t registered to vote in Nassau County, the absentee ballot can be sent in the mail. Of course, if you’re extra cautious and don’t trust the U.S. Postal Service you can also hand in your ballot up until the day before the election.

Students that live on Hofstra’s campus may actually establish voting residency here. This basically allows students to use their school address as their principle home address. All one must do is show proof that they currently live at Hofstra.

Anne Mongillo, the Dean of the Center for University Advising has been working with the League of Women Voters – just one of the groups that help students register to vote around campus.

According to Mongillo, voting shouldn’t be taken for granted. “Yes, I believe that it’s important for everyone to be able to vote,” she said. “It is a choice I am happy to have and realize that not everyone in the world has the opportunity to vote. I take it seriously.”

Voting is one of the defining qualities of democracy and is an integral part of being an American. As an African American woman, my ancestors have fought and died for this right twice over and it is astonishing to see how many people take it for granted today. To my fellow students; educate yourself on this very important part of being an American. Take the time to make sure that you are registered so when Nov. 8 comes you can contribute. Remember, every vote counts.

The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.

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