Absentee Voting: Everything You Need to Know but Were Afraid to Ask

Everyone remembers their first time. It's exciting and nerve-wracking. There are so many options. You are never sure what to expect afterwards. So finally, you just do it. You vote.

But what if you are out of state or out of the country during the election? Then what happens? We talked to Micheala Bethune from DoSomething.org and learned everything you need to know about how to vote via absentee ballot.

All Things Absentee

"Working with over six million young people for the past 25 years, we noticed that young people prefer voting absentee, but they don't know how," Bethune says. DoSomething.org believes that young people should be shaping the future, as they will be the ones living in it. "We have over six million members between the ages of 13 to 25 who signed up to take a social action. These members push for change in their communities."

DoSomething created National Absentee Ballot Day on Oct. 9 and launched votingabsentee.org to inform young voters about the process. This website provides you with all the necessary information related to absentee voting. In only two minutes, you can register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and help your friends get registered with no cost.

"You can host an event on National Absentee Ballot Day, a party on your campus with your friends," Bethune says.

When you fill out your ballot on National Absentee Voting Day, Bethune suggests taking a selfie and sending it to DoSomething.org. "If you do, we will put your picture up on our homepage and share it on our social channels, which have millions of followers. This website will amplify all the young people who are voting or requesting their absentee ballots on this day."

Target: College Students

In 2019, millennials are expected to surpass baby boomers as the largest generation of Americans eligible to vote, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. "In the last presidential election, almost 40 percent of votes were cast before the election day," Bethune continues. "This is why it's incredibly important for college students who are away from home to have the tools they need to request an absentee ballot, learn everything, and send in their votes in time. So their voices can be heard."

People over the age of 60 vote nearly twice as much as people under the age of 29.

"So many local elections in your towns and in your communities are just decided by a handful of votes," Bethune says. "Your voice really makes a difference there."

People over the age of 60 vote nearly twice as much as people under the age of 29. The goal is to get just as many young people voting as people over 60. Then, Bethune says, "politicians will start listening. They will start working on issues young people care about. Because they look at the people who participate in our democracy. So it's important as an entire movement for us to show old people that young people aren't to be forgotten. We turn out to vote."

Don't Make These Common Mistakes

"The biggest mistake you can make is not knowing if you can vote absentee at your college campus," Bethune says. "You can vote in every single state if you have a permanent mailing address." If you don't want your absentee ballot request to get rejected, you should make sure to mail in your ballot on time.

"This is why we picked Oct. 9 as National Absentee Ballot Day," Bethune explains. "On this day, people can either mail their ballots in or request an absentee ballot. Either way, they would have enough time to get their ballot in the mail, sit with it, and do some research."

To avoid any other rejections, you need to fill out your absentee ballot request form completely. But you can always go on votingabsentee.org and ask the on-call experts to break down the rules and regulations and what's going on in your state.

Basic Checklist ✔️

  1. Go on votingabsentee.org, and register to vote.
  2. Request your absentee ballot.
  3. Wait until your ballot arrives.
  4. Sit with your ballot, and do some research using DoSomething.org's guides to help you understand all the different issues and what they mean.
  5. Vote, and mail your ballot in.
  6. Take a selfie, and get excited!