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An explanation of how to register to vote ahead of 2020 Election

Jac St. Jean

As Election Day approaches on Nov. 3, it is important to know two things: how to register to vote, and how to actually cast a vote. While voter turnout has been increasing since the last election, it is imperative to vote this year. In 2016, only 43 percent of 18-24-year-old students voted. As Jack Margaros wrote in his column, “Go and cast your vote. It matters.” Here, I will show you the steps you need to take in order to be ready come November to cast your vote for our president for the next four years.

First, determine which state you are voting in. If you are a Massachusetts resident, you can register to vote within the Commonwealth online at https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/. If you are not a Mass. resident, but you want to vote in the state, you will have to fill out and mail in a voter registration form. All you need to do is fill out the form online on the website, print it out, and mail it or deliver it personally to the Springfield City Hall. You can also register in person at the town hall at the Springfield Board of Elections, the Secretary of State’s office, or any Massachusetts social service agency. The deadline to register for the election is Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. eastern time.

You can also decide to vote early in Massachusetts, and you do not need to provide an excuse to do so. Early voting will take place between Oct. 17 and Oct. 30, and you can mail in your ballot or vote early in person. Schedules and locations for early voting will be posted on http://www.massearlyvote.com/ no later than Oct. 9.

One of the perks of voting in the state of Massachusetts is that you will not have to travel far to cast your vote. Residing at Springfield College, your voting location will be right next door at the AIC Sprague Arts Center. In the era of COVID-19, it might be safer to travel a couple miles and stay within the Bay State to vote instead of crossing state lines. For more information on your registration status and election information, head to https://www.sec.state.ma.us/index.htm .

If you plan to vote in your home state, I would recommend doing so by mail-in voting. Head to https://www.usa.gov/absentee-voting to further look into your state election office’s specific rules. You can also register to be a mail-in voter at the same site. If you are a Massachusetts resident, however, you can still choose to vote by mail, and it is also a safe option if you are looking to limit your exposure to COVID. One thing to note here is that if you have strong political views and your state is a swing state, it may be more beneficial to cast your vote by mail-in voting for your home state. But it is important to understand that every vote, no matter the state, is important.

For overall general information on this year’s election, such as how to actually vote, how to decide who to vote for, and more, head to https://www.usa.gov/voting . Remember the dates. Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. is the deadline to register in the state. Nov. 3 is Election Day. Register in your respective states, and cast your vote!

Photo: Jac St. Jean/The Student

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