Election Day has arrived and millions of college students want their voice heard. Since most students go to school away from home, they must vote by absentee ballot because they are only registered in their county. While this hasn’t been a problem for many students, there still are a lot of students who ran in to problems with their absentee ballots, and as a result of that, can not vote. Needless to say, they are not happy.
Marist College junior Chris Barnes is upset this Election Day because he will not be able to vote. He sent his request for an absentee ballot over a week and a half before Election Day just to make sure nothing went wrong. Unfortunately, he has yet to receive his ballot, and has no idea why.
“I checked for it Friday then I checked Saturday and it wasn’t there. Then I checked Monday and it still wasn’t there,” Barnes said. “Saturday was the last day I was really expecting it to come. This is supposed to be a historic election and everyone is supposed to have their voice heard, and now my voice can’t be heard.”
After months of build up and years of anticipation, Barnes can’t vote and he still doesn’t understand why.
“It’s pretty disappointing and I’ve been watching the debates and everything and this is the first election I could vote in based on my age and it’s just disappointing,” he said. “It makes me feel like I’m watching the results tonight and my votes not there.”
Barnes isn’t the only one who ran into problems with their absentee ballot. Gina Pernicano, another junior at Marist College, had problems with the absentee ballot process even though she started it in early October.
“I went to SGA and filled out the registration form for first time voters early in October,” Pernicano said. “At the time they also gave me an absentee ballot request form and told me to bring it back sometime during the month. They were unsure as to when it had to be in by and didn’t say where I had to send it either if I wanted to send it on my own.”
It seems that on top of a confusing process, many students may also be uneducated about the process itself.
“I found out this past week that it had to be in by Oct. 28 for New York deadlines so I did not have a chance to submit my absentee ballot request form, let alone the absentee ballot itself,” Pernicano said. “It’s not that I don’t want to vote; I just wish I was better informed about the process as a first time voter and the deadlines that came with each document.”
Amidst confusion by students, it seems that the biggest problem is a lack of communication between the Board of Elections and the voter. Aside from Barnes having no idea why he has yet to receive his absentee ballot, junior Matthew Buondelmonte wasn’t even sure he was correctly registered before the election. He was sent a request form for further identification on his registration just weeks before the election, and was worried that he wouldn’t be able to vote.
“I was worried I wasn’t registered because my absentee ballot had not arrived just days before the election,” Buondelmonte said. “Fortunately it came a few days before and I quickly filled it out and mailed it in. At one point I was worried I wouldn’t be able to vote at all.”
A clear lack of information as well as communication is an apparent problem for the absentee ballot process. While many students have been able to have their voice heard on this historic day, there are still some who are left wondering what went wrong and wishing they had their chance to vote.