Students can vote from home
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 18:10
As Election Day approaches, presidential candidates are asking voters not only to get to the polls but also to vote early — some Cal State Long Beach students are taking that advice.
Absentee ballots, which allow voters to vote by mail, are more popular among older demographics than young, according to CSULB political science professor Charles Noble.
“I don't think there are drawbacks for younger voters with absentee voting other than they have to decide to this early, and first time voters usually don't think about these deadlines,” Noble said.
However, about half of the students who registered during the 49ers Vote Campaign, which was organized by Associated Students Inc., opted for an absentee ballot, ASI Secretary for System Wide Affairs James Suazo said via email.
“Typically, students who dorm either register with absentee ballots or do not change their registration at all, which is something we have been attempting to fix by getting more students to re-register or be sure to register in the current precinct that they live in,” Suazo said.
Noble said he believes that the most effective way to promote absentee voting would be through social media outlets, such as Facebook, which promote links that have information on registration and methods through which students can vote.
“I don’t think young people are aware of the option of absentee voting,” he said. “Absentee voting is a pretty individual and isolated act as opposed to the more social experience of going with friends to vote.”
Brenda Flores, a junior psychology major, said she prefers to vote at a polling place because it makes her feel more involved.
“I know the outcome is the same, but personally I wouldn’t feel like I'm actually voting,” Flores said. “I just like to see the environment and the atmosphere.”
The 2008 presidential election marked the highest youth turnout in recent years with 51 percent of the demographic casting a vote, according to the website for the Center For Information & Research On Civic Learning and Engagement. This year, however, momentum to get to the polls among students may be down, according to Noble.
“Overall, there is less interest by students in voting this election,” Noble said.
Sophomore political science and society major Elizabeth Alcantar said that she is a first time voter herself and believes that absentee voting does not take away from the excitement of the race.
“I really don't think it takes away from the experience or excitement; other than you aren't able to see people that are equally as excited to vote as you are,” Alcantar said. “[Voting] is such a life-changing experience, whether you do it in person or by mail.”
Cynthia Huynh, a junior creative writing and literature double major, also said that voting by mail does not take away from the excitement.
“I’m all for it,” she said. “I’m an absentee voter, and I still find it very exciting. I think that if a person has trouble making it to the polls, then it’s a good way for them to have an input in our government.”
The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is today. Absentee ballots must be submitted by Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.