Student absentee ballot completion varies by state slant
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Sophomore and New York resident Kevin Costa said he knows many out-of-state students who are filling out absentee ballots. He said he believes student interest depends on their state’s position in the election.
“One of my friends from Virginia filled out an absentee ballot because Virginia is more likely to swing in this election than states like Delaware or New York, so voting counts even more than ever there,” Costa said.
Matthew Keeler, the deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said as of Oct. 4, 130,666 Pennsylvania residents have filed an absentee ballot. He said 63,466 were Democratic, while 53,825 were Republican and 13,375 were other. He said he does not believe this is a low number.
“Based on the time frame, the deadlines give ample time to request a ballot,” Keeler said.
According to each state’s website, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey voters must return their absentee ballots to their county’s board of election by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday before the election. Maryland voters must send their ballots on or before Election Day to their local board of elections, according to the state’s board of election’s website.
Costa said he chose to fill out an absentee ballot because he wants his voice to be heard. He also said he believes presidential elections are worth the effort of filling out the form, even if the process takes time out of his already busy schedule.
Ralph Begleiter, a communication professor and the director of the Center for Political Communication, said he does not think it is likely that young voters will be as enthusiastic for this election as they were during the 2008 election.
“In 2008, you didn’t have an incumbent president and young people were thinking this is an opportunity to make a change,” Begleiter said. “And, of course, you had the potential of the historic opportunity of electing the first black president.”
Begleiter said many college-aged citizens were voting in 2008 because the election set a precedent never seen before. He said he believes this election’s lack of controversy will provide less of an incentive for students to vote.
Sophomore Jake Goldsmith, the treasurer of College Independents, said he did not want to go through the hassle of filling out an absentee ballot. Goldsmith, a New York resident, said his state’s liberal position makes him believe his vote is not relevant to the general election.
“My understanding is that absentee ballots are only used if the vote’s close enough that the absentee ballots can make a difference, and the odds of that happening in New York are very slim, so it hardly seemed worth the trouble,” Goldsmith said.
Delaware State Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove said she anticipates up to 30,000 absentee ballot requests statewide for the upcoming election. She said when the office in Delaware receives an absentee ballot request, they usually file it that day.
Manlove said she is unsure whether or not voter turnout would be as high as it was in 2008. Although this election does not have as much of a dramatic appeal as the last, she said she believes people are still very interested in the results.
“This is a pretty hot race, so it could be close,” Manlove said.
Begleiter said the Center for Political Communication is organizing a “Get Out The Vote” campaign. He said members of the organization will wear shirts that say, “Do it in a booth,” and, “Watch your vote count at election central.”