This year’s presidential race has kept everyone on their toes. And as these last few months dwindle down to this final week, it’s more important than ever that you go out and vote wherever you are. For many of us that are on campus, absentee ballots are the way to go. Depending on your state, hopefully you’ve filled out a change of address and have had your ballot sent to your dorm/apartment or are waiting on it!
When filling out an absentee ballot, you have to keep some things in mind. ABC News does a good job at highlighting some specific state rules but it’s always good to be 100% certain and check on your state voting’s website. Overlooking a detail can lead to vote invalidation which is something we definitely want to avoid.
In general, remember to:
· Check your voter registration online. Ensure all of your information is accurate and you have the dates organized by when you need to mail back your ballot. Don’t forget that November 3rd is Election Day! If you miss a deadline, contact your county or state representatives ASAP.
· When you get your ballot, read ALL of the instructions provided. Some states will have you put your ballots inside of secrecy envelopes and others won’t. Others will have you sign specific places and use certain ink/pencil. Always double check to minimize the chance of having your vote invalidated.
· Look up your voting status after mailing your ballot. Many states will have portals available that will let voters check on their ballot and make sure that they have arrived in their state.
· Check in with your friends and family! Make sure that everyone close to you is registered and voting on the big day. If your friends have absentee ballots too, walk with them to the mailbox and post a group “I Voted” pic on Instagram or Snapchat to show off. Be careful though of what photos you take. Some states invalidate votes based on photos taken of ballots or envelops so air on the side of caution and just post your stickers!
If you’re on a Northwestern campus, NUVotes outlines how to successfully drop off your ballot at either the Evanston or Chicago campus and gives general information for those out-of-state! And if you’re interested, they have events going on through the week you can participate in.
Good luck and congratulations on being a part of history! Remember that your vote DOES count and it’s as important this year as ever.