Absentee Voters Missing More Than Just The Polls

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By: Leah Benoit

With the polls open nationwide for Election Day, voters across the country will cast their ballots at their designated polling areas. But some voters had their voices heard prior to November 6th – those casting absentee ballots.

At Michigan State University, many students select voting absentee as a means to avoid unnecessary travel and hassle that can come with voting, because individuals are required to vote where they have a registered address.

However, this process is not always ideal. Out-of-state students in particular may lean towards voting absentee, but there are some elements of the election that they may miss out on, specifically information about races not on the national ballot.

Michigan State University junior Michael Difiglia voted absentee from his hometown in Merrick, NY prior to November 6th. It was Difiglia’s second time voting, having previously voted in a non-presidential election year.

He said due to his distance from home, he is not familiar with many of the smaller political races and issues from his area and therefore choose to vote a straight-party ticket.

“I saw a lot of ads for proposals in Michigan on sites like Facebook, like ‘Vote No on Proposal 2’ but I didn’t really know anything about it,” he said. “Since I only live in Michigan for school it doesn’t really have an impact on me personally, so I don’t really feel the need to learn more about them.”

Junior Brian McHugh echos this sentiment.

“I saw a lot of ads on TV that were specific to Michigan,” he said, adding that he rarely saw any pertaining to his hometown in Montville, NJ on television or on websites. Unlike Difiglia, McHugh only voted on the candidates he knew about, choosing to leave some of the races blank.

Sophomore Anami Chan also voted absentee for this election. Chan, who is from New York, NY, says she chose not to pay any attention to any of the local Michigan ads she saw, because she would not be voting on them.

“I voted on the big races, like for President and Congress,” she said.

When asked why they did not opt to re-register in East Lansing, Difiglia, McHugh, and Chan all said they believed it would not be worthwhile to re-register somewhere they don’t plan on living after graduation.

While absentee voters could look up candidates and issues specific to their voting area online, Chan says she feels she was missing out on information local Michigan voters had at their disposal simply by being in a different state than her election.

“I wish I had more information about the races on the New York ballot. You don’t get mailings or see ads on Facebook and Twitter about New York when you’re in Michigan,” she said. “There was more on the ballot I had never heard of than things I was familiar with.”

 

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