The 2018 midterm elections saw a massive surge in college student voting.
Now, students are ensuring their voices will be heard in the 2020 presidential election by using absentee ballots.
Senior nursing major Molly Pfarmer has voted in the 2018 midterm elections and both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. She described it as being a straightforward process.
“In 2016 I voted in person so I got to experience the ballots,” said Pfarmer. “That was pretty normal; I just went up to my high school to do it. I registered at the front desk, they took me up to a booth, and it was an electronic screen.”
Even though Pfarmer’s first voting experience was easy, not all first-time voters feel the same.
Leah Eberts, a junior visual communications design major, said her first voting encounter in the 2018 midterm election left her lost and confused.
“I went to the wrong polling location within the building I was in,” said Eberts. “I went to put in my vote and it didn’t pop up so I had to go and ask. It was kind of a mess, I’m going to be honest. For my first time. I didn’t know what to do and what to expect.”
Eberts said they could have done more to make voting for the first time not as challenging.
“I wish they could have done a walkthrough of what you’re actually supposed to be doing,” said Eberts. “The polling places are a little confusing because there are so many.”
For the 2020 presidential election, both Eberts and Pfarmer voted by absentee ballots.
“Voting by absentee ballot was actually really easy for me,” said Pfarmer. “They sent [an application] to my house and asked previously for COVID purposes if we wanted to do absentee ballots, so I didn’t even have to go online. This was really nice because they were trying to promote absentee ballots in my neighborhood.”
Instead of having an absentee ballot application sent to her house, Eberts had to apply online for it to be sent to her place at school.
“I wasn’t sure if I had to send in another application in addition to the one I sent in online,” said Eberts. “I didn’t know if they were going to send it to my school address or not because I did receive another application to my house in my hometown so I could have used a little more information. But, once I received my ballot, it was fairly straightforward with the directions.”
Both students said that voting is extremely important, but Pfarmer said voting was more important to her this time around.
“I wasn’t happy with how our government has been run for the last four years,” said Pfarmer. “I wanted to be represented, and the only way to do that is to vote.”
Bronwyn Wain is a politics reporter. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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