Leading up to the 2020 election, voters have had to consider not just who to vote for, but how to cast their vote.
Drake freshman Jake Elafros is planning to vote in person on Election Day.
“You know, it’s my first time voting, I would kind of like to have the quote unquote voting experience,” Elafros said. “…I’d rather just do it the way it’s traditionally done… It’s not going to change my vote at all, so I might as well do it the way that seems most fun.”
Rachel Shugarts, another first-year at Drake, voted on Wednesday at the satellite location in the Knapp Center. Shugarts appreciates the satellite voting option because she thinks that there aren’t enough early in-person voting options in Des Moines. On the day she voted, she heard that there was a line “down the block” at the Election Office.
“[The situation] was just not very…optimal for finding a time to vote,” Shugarts said. “So I was glad that they were trying to extend voting abilities to people who might not otherwise be able to.”
Shugarts also has concerns about the reliability of voting by mail this year.
“I personally don’t trust mail-in voting right now, with all the stuff going on with the post office,” Shugarts said. “There’s also how long the mail is taking to get places. I’d be worried my ballot might get lost. What if it didn’t get there in time? There’s a lot of concerns.”
Many college students have the choice of voting in their home state or the state where their school is located. Elafros, who is from Illinois, is planning to vote in Iowa.
“I think registering in Iowa for me was the decision because Iowa is more of a swing state than Illinois is, so I would rather vote in place where it seems like my vote will make more of a difference, honestly,” Elafros said.
Shugarts is also from Illinois, and she was glad to have the opportunity to vote in Iowa.
“I was excited that I did move to vote in Iowa because it’s a purple state, so my vote could do a lot more, especially in the Theresa Greenfield/Joni Ernst race, because it’s such a tight Senate race,” Shugarts said.
Drake senior Trey Newman says that one factor in his decision to cast an absentee ballot for his home state of Minnesota was greater knowledge of local politicians. He also wanted to be cautious and avoid the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 on Election Day.
“I wasn’t a huge fan of thinking about all the standing in line, being with a lot of people,” Newman said. “I don’t know if I was overly concerned about being exposed… [I] just wanted to be careful and felt like the easiest way for me to do so would be to get a mail-in ballot, and mail it in.”
Elafros, Shugarts and Newman all believe in the importance of casting your ballot.
“In America, and any other country in which… you can vote, it’s a great blessing to be able to have that ability,” Elafros said. “If you don’t vote, you’re throwing away your vote, and also, it shows that you have a lack of care in the nation and the people around you.”
Shugarts believes that some people groups have a responsibility to those who fought for their voting rights.
“Plus, especially for people of color and women, people fought really hard for the right to vote… and I just feel like you’re throwing away all that they did for you [if you don’t vote],” Shugarts said.
Newman emphasized the importance of voting in America’s system of governance.
“In a democracy, obviously the goal is that our elected officials represent the people, so I think it’s important that all or most people vote,” Newman said.