By Terry McCafferty ‘22
For students reaching the age of 18 on or before November 3rd, 2020, the right to vote will be theirs this election. Voting in every election is important, but amid a global pandemic and economic turmoil impacting students and their families every day, voting is more important than ever. Justin Verhosek ‘21, one of the seniors who made the cut off, said, “I wanted to register to vote because I know how important it is and feel like being able to vote during a presidential election is even more important.” Verhosek was not alone in his view that this election is one of greater significance. Evan Defloor ‘21 said, “This election, in particular, is important to me so I registered to have my voice heard.” Defloor said that he “registered last year when the voter registration was being held at school.” He also shared that “it was dummy easy to sign up because I just stood there while she filled out some information. It took no more than 5-10 minutes.”
Elections are not only important in determining the future of the federal government, with the presidential election as a prime example. They are also incredibly important in determining local leaders and local issues. Another senior, Jim Slife ‘21 said, “I registered because I have always tried to be knowledgeable in politics and I think it is really important that everyone votes. After seeing the current situation and wanting change, I felt even more inclined to register and to also get other people to register.”
Time is running out to register to vote with online registration closing on October 5th. Verhosek says he “registered to vote online, just last month.” If you are not registered to vote, do so now at VoteOhio.gov. More information on becoming a poll-worker or checking voter registration status can be found at https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/.
In addition to registering, voters need a plan on how they are going to cast their ballot. Options include early voting (voting in-person before election day), absentee voting (voting by mail after requesting a mail-in ballot), and voting in-person on election day. Some students, such as Verhosek “plan to vote with an absentee ballot, due to time constraints and concerns of COVID.” One other reason a voter may opt for an absentee ballot is so that they can take their time at home to do additional research on less familiar candidates or issues. Slife also said, “As of right now, I plan on voting using a mail-in absentee ballot which I already sent in my application a few weeks ago for, but I wouldn’t be opposed to going in person if there is an issue with the mail-in ballots.“ Ohio does not have universal mail-in voting, which means voters will only receive a ballot in the mail if they apply for an absentee ballot – a system that has been in place long before COVID.
Other students are likely going to vote in-person either early or on election day. Defloor said, “I’m not sure whether I plan to vote absentee or in-person, but most likely in-person.”
Below is a list of upcoming dates related to the voting process: