United States citizens have exercised their right to vote since the addition of the 15th amendment to the Constitution in 1870.
But 146 years later, the absentee voting system has left many first-time voters wondering how they are going to cast their ballots in November.
Sophomore social relations and policy major, Elizabeth Cadotte, is from Livonia, Michigan. She planned to vote absentee to eliminate a trip home.
“I just knew that I wouldn’t have the time to go in person,” she said, “because I was here and I was working and I was in school. And if I had to go, it would’ve been a Saturday and the lines are really long, so it would not have been efficient.”
Secretary of State spokesman, Fred Woodhams, said that MSU students who registered to vote through the mail would not be able to vote absentee. In order to prevent voter fraud, they would have to vote in-person at their local Secretary of State or township clerk’s office.
“The intention there is to ensure people are who they say they are,” Woodhams said, “and that there is a real person behind that name who registered to vote. ”
However, as long as first-time voters register at a Secretary of State office, they will be able to vote absentee this election season.
The confusion has left many like sophomore electrical engineering student, Ryan Aridi feeling frustrated.
“It’s like an arena,” he said. “You’re given a sword, which is your ballot, and you’re given a shield which is your information, and then you just go in there and you have no idea what’s going on. Like it’s all from experience.”
And other students like Elizabeth are just trying to figure out how they are going to get home.
“I’m still not really sure what I’m gonna do,” she said, “because I really wanna vote. I think it’s important, so I don’t really know yet. I’m just gonna have to get home somehow.”