Erin Reilly, Editor-in-Chief
As the 2020 Presidential election quickly approaches, campus conversations at St. John Fisher College about the voting process have begun to pick up.
Election Day is November 3rd. It seems to be coming at a trivial time for the United States, and young voters seem more encouraged now than they ever have been to get out and vote. Young voters make up the majority of Fisher’s campus, with an undergrad population of roughly 2,600 students. For some students, it may be their second time voting, but for most students, this is the first election that they’re eligible to vote in.
Dr. Sebastian Lazardeux, Chair of the Political Science Department at Fisher, said that this election is much different than elections have been in the past. “Even in the most contested election in modern times,” he said, “there hasn’t been this type of behavior by the sitting president, or from somebody competing for the office, making these statements that people should not trust the results of the election if he doesn’t win.”
Although this election seems important and trivial, Dr. Lazardeux expressed his empathy for students who may not plan on voting. “Voting is not always easy. You need to register to vote. You need to have some knowledge about the electoral process and how it works in the place where you’re supposed to vote,” he said. He mainly expressed his understanding for the students who are able to vote for the first time this year.
4 days left to REGISTER TO VOTE in New York! pic.twitter.com/0J41RuyvP2
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 6, 2020
“The first time you do something, it’s always difficult. And if you have all of these rules that are complicated, that can change depending on where you are, that makes it even more confusing.”
He also expressed the need for young people to vote. In New York, he expressed, your vote might not seem to “matter,” because of the population and the already-established stance of the majority of the state. However, he said, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t vote. “It is important for young people to vote simply because politicians respond to their electorate. And so, if you’re elected by people who are mostly in their forties or above, you’re going to pay attention to this population and what they want and what their beliefs are.”
When asked about the argument of the general public regarding one’s duty and right to vote being the sole reason why a citizen should make their way to the ballot box, Lazardeux disagreed. “I think that the civic duty argument just doesn’t work. It means that you’re very influenced by the past.” Lazardeux expressed the idea that young people should vote because it may change the way that politicians respond to them, something they seem to be asking for. “It is very likely that the policies that politicians want to tackle would look sensibly different if young people voted. You have different interests. You have different issues that you want to get fixed,” he said.
This type of conversation has picked up among students, too. Samantha Frappa, a senior Nursing major at Fisher, is voting in her second election this year. She expressed that she’s never paid more attention to politics than she does now, and that she thinks she understands the importance and the impact that voting has. “I think it impacts not only yourself, but everyone around you, and our planet. I think this election has so much in store for the future, not only in terms of civil rights, but also in terms of the planet and climate change, and just what is the best thing we can do to create the most positive and beautiful future.”
Frappa also provided some advice for students or young voters who may not feel that they’re informed enough to vote in this year’s election. “If you just do a quick google search and look up non-biased ways to get informed about the election, so many things come up. I know I did it for myself. There are podcasts, there are journal articles, you can subscribe to newsletters that send you a daily short article every day. I think people just think it’s hard so they don’t even try. I think it’s very easy, it’s just overwhelming to think about sometimes.”
For young voters looking for tips about voting, there are plenty of resources available.
“I think that we’ve never stressed the importance of voting like we have now. I think that’s really truly an amazing thing and I hope that we don’t take all of these messages for granted. I hope that we stand up, take action, and listen to what we’re being told,” Frappa said.
New York State residents can find information on how to register to vote here. The state registration deadline is October 9. Voters can download an absentee ballot request online here. The last day to request an absentee ballot is October 27.
New York State Board of Elections officials say it has to be postmarked no later than Election Day — November 3, but local officials say it’s better to submit the absentee ballot as soon as you can to avoid potential postal delays.
Absentees can also be dropped off at polling sites on Election Day, and dropped of at early voting polling sites at available times and locations.
Once registered, polling site can be found here.