I am not very interested in politics. Of course I have my views on certain topics, as everyone usually does, and I do get passionate about my views from time to time. However, I really do not like talking about politics, and to be honest, a lot of the things that surround politics really confuse me. Despite my opinions about politics in general, the 2020 presidential election is quickly approaching, and one thing I do know is how important it is to register to vote in this year’s election. I, along with many others, am not happy with the state of our country right now. Change needs to happen, and the only way we can do that is by using our voices and getting out there to vote. I am registered to vote, and I plan on voting in this election; it will be the first presidential election in which I am allowed to vote. However, my one major annoyance with the whole thing is that my experience with getting set to vote has not been straightforward, especially with the absentee ballot.
All over social media, people have been posting about the importance of registering to vote and participating in this upcoming election. I completely agree with this, however it has not been as easy and stress-free as everyone has been making it out to be. I am a New Hampshire resident, so I am registered to vote there, but since I plan on being here in Connecticut for the election in November, I have to vote via absentee ballot. I don’t want to speak about every state when I say this, because I don’t know the details of how other states are handling things, but the process for applying to get my absentee ballot has not been a smooth one. Back during the first week of August, I mailed in my application to my town clerk, requesting absentee ballots for both my state primary election, as well as the general election. New Hampshire’s primary election was on Sept. 8, 2020, and even though I planned to vote in it, I was unable to because I never received my absentee ballot in the mail. I thought that requesting my ballots in early August would allow plenty of time for my town to mail me my primary election ballot, on which I could vote and mail back before having to return to school in a month. According to the absentee ballot tracker feature included on the nh.gov site, my town clerk mailed out my absentee ballot to my home address on Aug. 11, yet I never received it.
I called my town clerk’s office about this issue once I was at school and had missed my state’s primary election because I wanted answers as to why I never received my ballot. I also wanted to check in and make sure that I would receive my ballot for the general election. When I called, the woman I spoke to said, “I don’t know what to tell you…”
Well, thank you, town clerk.
There has been all this talk about how President Donald Trump has been manipulating the United States Postal Service, as this New Yorker article describes, in order to disrupt the delivery of people’s mail-in ballots so that their votes will not be counted in the election. The rumors say Trump’s motivation for this is to try and swing the results in his favor ensuring that he wins and serves a second term. I do not know how true this is, and I know that there are a multitude of other possible reasons as to why my absentee ballot did not get mailed to me. Nonetheless, my experience does not make me feel confident in the postal service. They can get my family’s monthly magazine subscription or the daily grocery coupon flyer in our mailbox just fine, but when it comes to my absentee ballot, it just doesn’t show up? Something seems really wrong with that.
Don’t get me wrong…I thoroughly appreciate the postal service and their workers, and I acknowledge how important they are to our lives. However, when it comes to my right to vote, and when there is an option for me to vote by absentee ballot, I am really counting on the postal service to allow my vote to be included, especially in this, of all elections.
On absentee ballot applications, it asks why you are entitled to vote by absentee ballot, and there is now an option that people can check off that says you cannot vote in person because of your concerns for COVID-19. The pandemic has created an influx in the number of voters choosing to vote by mail-in ballot in this election for fear of being exposed to the virus at public voting locations. This means there will be an influx in the number of envelopes that the postal service must handle and properly deliver in order for people’s votes to be counted, including my own. I can only hope that the rumors are not true about Trump trying to manipulate the postal service, because even more people than usual are depending on them to make sure that their voices are heard and that their votes count in this year’s election.
For a guide on how to change a voter registration address, ways to vote by mail in a specific state and absentee ballot deadlines, check out https://www.mymove.com/moving/guides/voter-registration-by-state/.