By Sarah Pinkerton | Staff Writer
Each day, the 2020 presidential election draws nearer and nearer. After Joe Biden accepted the nomination as the Democratic candidate last Thursday and Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination Monday, the countdown to election night begins.
For many Baylor students, this will be the first time that they are able to vote in a presidential election and with that comes a somewhat extensive registration process. In order to ensure that everything is lined up for Election Day on Nov. 3, it is necessary that students start this process as early as Sept. 1.
Students at Baylor come from all 50 states, and around 37.5% of the student body is from out of state. This means that the voting process for many students may look a little different while they are away from their home county.
Every state looks different in terms of their mail-in absentee voting regulations, and many are still making decisions on how they will handle voting during the coronavirus pandemic. It is crucial that you begin looking into these differing regulations now and add voter registration and absentee registration to your to-do list.
Every state offers mail-in voting for out-of-county voters, but if your state does not automatically send you an absentee ballot, you can request one to be sent to you at www.nass.org. Absentee voting applications must be sent in by Oct. 23 in Texas.
As the number of absentee ballot requests continues to grow, it may take longer to get the absentee ballot mailed to you. This means that you must ensure you get the process rolling with enough time for delays or confusion. This is especially crucial during a time when many other citizens will choose to mail in their votes due to the coronavirus pandemic and will be completing this process during the same time frame as you.
In addition to actual voter registration and confirmation, it is crucial that you research both of the running candidates so you can choose the one that aligns most with your personal beliefs. There are a lot of great resources for this information on news sites and blogs, and many of them break down issues such as the economy, social issues, environmental issues and education and allow you to compare the two sides of the argument. As college students, we also have the ability to talk to educated professors and lecturers about the candidates’ viewpoints and get first-hand guidance from those experienced in the field.
It is crucial that students begin these processes now and in the coming weeks. It is never too late to educate ourselves on the candidates, prepare to vote from whatever county you find yourself in and get ready to make a decision at the voting polls. Don’t let the 2020 election slip away from you.
Make a plan. Figure out when and how you’re going to fill out the necessary forms in the right amount of time and figure out where you’ll be on Election Day. If you are able to attend in-person voting, make sure you get your vote in before the polls close at 7 p.m. and plan your day accordingly.
This is important and such an incredible opportunity that we have as American citizens. Too many people let it slip by because they’re uninterested, unmotivated or feel like the result won’t impact them. It is past time that we care about how the outcome of the election will impact us and the people around us. We have to care and we have to let our vote be heard.