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Students cast election ballots early

Emma Driscoll | Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Students have been taking advantage of the new opportunity to cast their ballots for the Nov. 4 general election early and in-person in at least 34 states throughout the country.

The state of Indiana offers early voting to registered voters and students registered to vote in other states used fall break as an opportunity to vote in their hometowns.

Senior Colleen Desmond voted at a retirement home in Cook County, Ill.

“My mom informed me that when I came home for break, I needed to go with her to early vote,” Desmond said.

Senior Pat Young, who voted for the first time at a community center in a public park in his hometown of Houston, Texas, also said that his mother influenced his decision to vote early.

“My mom encouraged me to do it, and I was thinking about looking into it,” Young said.

Freshman Nathalie Rosado voted in her county’s courthouse in Russell County, Ky.

“I was going to vote in Indiana because I thought it would be more helpful, since it was more of a battleground state,” Rosado said. However, Rosado did not make the deadline to register to vote in Indiana.

Early voting offers an alternative for individuals who miss deadlines for absentee voting and people who will be away from their homes on election day.

Young, who was too young to vote in the last general election, said early voting was his only opportunity to vote because he did not request an absentee ballot in time.

“It was fine. I only had to wait a half hour,” he said. “The ballot was pretty self-explanatory [and] the people checking me in were pretty nice.”

With early voting, voters get to have the full experience of going to a polling site and can cast ballots electronically.

“I wanted to vote early because I wanted the experience of going into a polling place instead of sending in an absentee ballot,” Desmond said.

Desmond voted in the primary election earlier this year and in the congressional race, but last week was her first time voting in a general election.

Compared to her experiences voting in other elections, Desmond felt the early voting process “was speedier and more voter friendly” and said that she would definitely be inclined to vote early again.

Rosado also voted in the Democratic primary election in Kentucky. She first became aware of the option to vote early for the general election through the Obama campaign.

Based on her experience with early voting, Rosado did not expect early voters to face long lines at polling places.

Rosado opted to vote early because she thought it would be easier than going through the absentee ballot process, which for her, it was.

“It was really easy. You pretty much just went there and got it done,” she said. “It was really convenient.”

Desmond agreed that early voting was straightforward process.

“I got in and out of the polling place in under ten minutes,” Desmond said.