How many Mines students will vote in the upcoming election?
The Presidential Primaries and debates are making the news as the 2020 presidential election draws closer. The primary voting has started – most states have primaries or caucuses to determine which candidates from each party will be on the November General Election ballot. Here in Colorado, the presidential primary vote is on March 3rd for both the Democratic and Republican parties. If you’re participating in the Colorado primary vote, there’s a ballot box located outside the Arthur Lakes Library where you can drop off your ballot. If you’re a registered voter in Jefferson County, you can drop them off there until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3rd.
You can vote by mail or in person, but if you plan to vote by mail be sure to be checking your mailbox and get your ballot in the mail early or deliver it to a drop off site by March 3rd. And, you can vote in person at a polling station on March 3rd as well. Jefferson County will be hosting an in-person voting center in the Ben Parker Student Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, March 2 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3.
As a student, you’re joining a growing population of student voters. Twice as many students (around 40%) voted in the 2018 midterms as did in the 2014 midterms. This is potentially beneficial for some parties, as a majority of students across the country identify as liberal. In a spring 2019 poll of college students aged 18-24, by the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, 45% identified as Democrats, 29% as Independent/Unaffiliated, and 24% as Republican.
But many students don’t vote. Many people feel dejected and discouraged from voting by the thought that their vote doesn’t matter, based on how their state has historically voted. In the Presidential election, almost all states (except for Nebraska and Maine), the candidate that wins the state’s popular vote will receive all of the electoral votes for that state. Colorado has voted for the democratic candidate in the past three presidential elections, but it hasn’t always been this way. In the past century, Colorado’s electoral college votes have gone to the Republican candidate almost 70% of the time. How a state will vote in the electoral college isn’t set in stone, and could potentially change for each election.
If you can go out and vote, and choose not to, you’re giving up your say in the matter. Sure, your one vote is not much compared to the millions of people in the US, but what if everyone thought that way? Only 50% – 60% of the voting age population have voted in past elections, there’s a large portion of the US’ voice we haven’t heard. Even if your vote is only a small drop in the bucket, it’s a way to make your voice heard.
How to Vote
If you’d like to register to vote in Colorado, you can do so online or fill out a pdf and mail or e-mail it in to your county clerk. Information can be found at www.govotecolorado.gov. As always, it’s better to register earlier rather than later to ensure your ability to vote. As long as you have lived in Colorado for at least 22 days, and are not currently registered in another state, you can register as a Colorado voter. It’s a relatively simple process, even for out-of-state students. (Having never registered to vote in my home state, I was able to register in Jefferson County with one email of a pdf form.)
If you’re registered to vote outside of Colorado, you can still vote, even when you’re away from home. It’s likely many of the students here at Mines are registered to vote already in a different state, as around 44% of the student population is from out-of-state. If you’re registered in your home state, you can send in a ballot by mail as an ‘absentee voter’. The process for this varies by state, but if you plan to vote this way, make sure to request one early to make sure you can mail in your ballot on time. Be sure to check for the primary vote date in your state, they happen over the course of a few months and have already happened for some states. You can also change where you are registered to vote, as long as you are not registered in two places at once.
While the 2020 presidential election is months away, you can still vote in the Colorado primaries if you’d like. Whether you agree with our current electoral college system or not, feel like your vote makes a huge impact or none at all, I would encourage you to go vote. Quite simply, it’s a way to voice your opinion on issues in the US.