With the 2020 presidential election coming up many Ferris students are preparing themselves to vote ahead of time.
Since elections typically fall during the school year, many students register to vote in Big Rapids to avoid the drive back home. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, states across the country have changed their regulations and are encouraging now more than ever for people to vote through an absentee ballot.
Back in 2018, 67% of voters approved a constitutional amendment that allowed any Michigan voter to vote by mail through “no-excuse” absentee voting. Ferris forensics biology freshman Alejandro Garrido-Pacheco wouldn’t say that he is actively involved in politics but still believes it’s important to vote.
“I’m registered back at home, but I plan to vote ahead of time with an absentee ballot,” said Garrido Pacheco.
The first step to obtaining an absentee ballot is sending in the request for one, which must arrive by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. or the Friday before any election. However, it is recommended that people submit their request as soon as possible.
This year Michigan sent out absentee applications to any registered voter who has not yet applied for an absentee ballot or signed up to automatically receive an absentee ballot.
A lot of controversy has arisen from absentee voting mainly due to the fear that it may result in voter fraud. However, many studies, like one done by the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, have shown that voter fraud is incredibly rare. Even experts say it would be easier to impersonate someone at the polls than forge a signature on an absentee ballot.
During the statewide primary, over 800 absentee ballots were rejected not because of voter fraud but because the people who cast these ballots had died before Election Day. Another case where an absentee ballot can be rejected is because they arrived late or because there were issues in verifying the signatures. If a ballot gets rejected due to signature, a clerk will contact the voter and give them the chance to verify the signature in person.
However, not everyone is convinced that mail-in votes are a safe route to take, President Donald Trump suggested postponing the election.
“2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the election until people can, properly, securely and safely vote???” Trump said over Twitter.
The change of date could not be approved by the president alone. It would need to be approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate and would require a constitutional amendment to change the dates for swearing in the members of Congress and the new presidential administration. If Congress did agree to delaying the election, President Trump’s term would still expire on Jan. 20, 2021 because of the constitution’s 20th amendment.
If Election Day remains on Nov. 3, it is likely a large number of votes will be cast through absentee ballots.
Despite the craziness of the world and the effects of COVID-19 people are staying optimistic and trying to keep things positive.
Ferris welding engineering freshman Ian McArthur is still 17 but will turn 18 before the election. McArthur plans to register the second he turns 18 and vote through an absentee ballot.
“I’m really excited because it will be my first-time voting and because it’s such an important election,” said McArthur.
The upcoming election will not only decide the next President but also decide the next representatives for the state of Michigan in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
Election day is Nov. 3, and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone who is in line by 8 p.m. is legally allowed to vote. For more information on what is on the ballot students can go look at resources such as ballotopedia.org or vote411.org