Mason students are among the group of early voters
BY BRAD BYRNE STAFF WRITER
Mason students have already started to vote for the 2020 presidential election.
Students living on campus that have Mason as their registered voting place can vote in Merten Hall on Election Day. However, most students are registered back home and are mailing in their ballots.
Students who live off campus, like junior Mackensee Gunpat, are new to the process of voting this way, but, for her, it is a welcome change.
“I was nervous about it at first because I’ve never mailed a ballot in before, but it’s easier than I expected it to be,” said Gunpat. She plans to mail her ballot back to her hometown in New York.
Mason students at home are also participating and voting early, like sophomore Nick Sheets.
“I am voting early because I will be working the polls on Election Day. There are many ways to vote early this year [in Virginia] thanks to the leadership of Democrats in the General Assembly,” said Sheets. “One, you can request a ballot online and they will mail it to you, no excuse, or two, you can go to various locations — usually the county government complex — 8 [a.m.] to 4:30 [p.m.] Monday through Friday from now all the way through October.”
Sheets, a Richmond area native, also shared his thoughts on the importance of early voting.
“This election is going to be contested and it is going to be close [and] every vote is going to count — and not just when it comes to the presidential race,” he said. “There are concerns such as COVID-19 and issues with the mail delivery system, and with the election being so close it is important that we vote early and safely to ensure our voices are heard.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to rage on throughout the world since the start of 2020 and has deeply affected how voting works. Some local and primary elections have already occurred during this pandemic, including a 2020 Virginia Primary in June. Vote.org provides information on how voting is occurring in each state, how to follow proper voting precautions and how to request an absentee ballot.
In Virginia, the deadline to register is 22 days before Election Day — , or Oct. 12. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot from your local election officials in Virginia is Oct. 23 by 5 p.m.. Mail-in ballots are due 11 days before Election Day and three days before Election Day if voting in person with an absentee ballot.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, nearly one million Virginians have requested an absentee ballot.