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Students request absentee ballots

Kate Gales | Wednesday, October 13, 2004

With today’s technology, campus awareness groups and the availability of national programs such as Rock the Vote, getting an absentee ballot has never been easier – and Notre Dame students are taking advantage of the opportunity.

The 2004 election is the first opportunity that many students will have to vote for a president. With so many students coming from out of state, absentee ballots have become an issue that many are dealing with during the voter registration process.

“I am registered to vote,” junior Kevin Walsh said. “I went through the Rock the Vote Web site back home, which is in Ohio.”

Walsh pointed out it was especially important for swing state voters to cast absentee ballots.

“Ohio has 20 electoral votes and right now, Ohio is split 49 to 49 [percent], I think,” he said.

Even students from non-swing states were ready to let their votes be counted.

Sophomore David Lawrence, a Texas native, has already applied for his absentee ballot.

“It’s important to have an absentee ballot because even though I won’t be home to vote, I want my opinion and my voice to be heard,” he said.

Other students simply want to make sure they are included in the process.

“It’s important to vote so you don’t get left out,” said John Robinson, a freshman. “I’ll go online to my state’s Web site and fill out a request form, and my ballot will be mailed to me.”

While many students registered to vote at home or on their own via the Internet, campus groups worked to get students involved in the election.

“I registered to vote on the day I turned 18 at the post office,” said Jill Martini, a freshman from Pennsylvania. “There was so much emphasis on either registering to vote if you haven’t already, or getting an absentee ballot that it was kind of hard not to hear about it in the first month we were here. When I go home on fall break, I’m going to the courthouse, I think, and pick up my ballot and vote right there.”

Bridget Keating is just one Rock the Vote representative. The Cavanaugh Hall resident said it is absolutely crucial students obtain absentee ballots for the upcoming election.

“Without them, the fact that they are registered to vote means nothing,” she said. “They need to exercise their rights by being an important player in this monumental election.”

Part of Keating’s job was to help newly registered voters obtain their absentee ballots. This can be done through the Internet, although many deadlines are approaching or have already lapsed.

Many students have already received their ballots.

“I already have an absentee ballot,” sophomore Tony Craffa said. “It was actually sent to me on Monday, and I plan on filling it out and mailing it back to Massachusetts.”

But for Keating, voting in this election comes down to one main issue.

“We do not want to let, likely, the most important election of our lifetimes pass by without having a say,” Keating said. “The issues are real. They affect our everyday lives as college students.”