Many college students are voting for the first time this year, and even more are voting in their first presidential election. Filling out a ballot can be a stressful and confusing process, so on Friday, Oct. 9, Westmont’s Mailing Services Coordinator, Elijah Barrows, sent an email to all students about how and when to mail in their ballots for the upcoming election.
This election season is Barrows’ first as Mailing Services Coordinator; he said he has received 20-30 ballots per day just last week, and he imagines that “they will just keep coming.”
Barrows decided to send the all-student email after The Horizon inquired about voting by mail. One important distinction Barrows mentioned, both in his email and in an interview with The Horizon, is that each county has different requirements regarding postmarking. Barrows stated, “Some [counties] say [the ballot] needs to be postmarked by a certain date –– which is when the post office receives and stamps it –– sometimes it says it needs to be to [the election officials’] office by a certain date, and it’ll tell you on your ballot what their county rules are.”
This year, every registered voter in the state of California is receiving a mail-in ballot, and students who wish to vote in Santa Barbara County have the opportunity to do so. All they need to do is visit www.vote.gov and they will be able to change their address, allowing them to vote here in Santa Barbara County. There are specific dates and requirements for each individual county, but Barrows suggested to have your ballot filled out sooner rather than later.
Joe Holland, Clerk, Recorder, Assessor and Registrar of Voters for Santa Barbara County, also encouraged voters to utilize California’s My Voter Status website.
In a recent interview with Noozhawk, Holland said, “You will be able to see if we have accepted your ballot and if it’s ready to process.” This website assures those voting via mail that their ballots have been received and their votes cast successfully.
According to Barrows, “When you get your ballot, I would suggest just filling it out right away because that gives the most time for your ballot to get to the election officials.” Ballots that have been verified and received by Oct. 31 will be part of the count on election night, whereas ballots received or postmarked on election night will not be counted until later. The U.S. Postal Service says that student voters should try to have their ballots mailed by Oct. 27 to ensure that they will be postmarked and counted by election night.
Once students have filled out their ballots, they can drop them off at the Mail Center in the third slot down to the right of the double doors.
Barrows hopes his email will help clarify any questions or concerns students may have; if not, they are more than welcome to stop by the Mail Center and ask a question.