It’s Almost Time for Terps to Vote

By Mya Zepp

With the 2020 presidential election less than 30 days away, University of Maryland students are considering their options for casting their votes.

2020 has changed the way many people are voting since voting by mail is bigger than ever and in-person voting is now combined with social distancing guidelines.

Historically, younger voters have been less likely to vote than older voters, but according to a survey taken by Forbes, 63% of Americans ages 18-29 plan to vote in the 2020 election in comparison to the 47% that said they planned to vote in 2016.

In the 2016 election, 85.7% of terps were registered to vote and 60.4% voted in the election, according to Terps Vote. “I think the turnout of young voters is going to be a lot higher than 2016… Among UMD students and among college students in general,” said sophomore and founder of Terps for Biden Ryan Khaghani.

Terps for Biden is a place for UMD students who support Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden to join together. The group is also an educational environment where students can get informed about their right to vote and how to get out and vote on the upcoming election day.

Students such as freshman environmental science major Alyssa Chiascione, want to vote but are not quite sure how to get started with the process. “I plan on voting, but I’m not sure how I am going to vote to be honest… I know UMD has a polling station but that’s it,” said Chiascione.

UMD’s website TerpsVote provides information to help students know where to go and what to do on election day.  

The final day for voter registration in Maryland is Oct. 13 and if you are not registered by then you may not vote on Nov. 3. Registered voters can vote in person, by mail, in certain states, or by absentee ballot.

Since registered voters are assigned a specific polling place to cast their vote if you attempt to vote at a different polling place than the one which you have been assigned you will not be on the roster and you will be given a provisional ballot. This means your voter registration will be confirmed at a later time and you will likely not receive a ballot with everything you are eligible to vote for.

Voters who have made a plan to vote in person can find their specific polling place at vote.org.

Out of state students should consider their plan for voting since they aren’t near their designated poles. While some out of state students have decided to make the trip home for election day to vote in person, others similar to freshman Anthony D’Alessio have requested an absentee ballot. “I plan on voting. I’m mailing in my ballot,” said D’Alessio.

For the 2020 election, the University of Maryland’s Xfinity center is an official polling site for students registered to vote in Maryland. Those who feel comfortable voting in person can utilize this polling site to cast their vote.

Anyone who has chosen to mail in their ballot must have it postmarked on or before Nov. 3 for it to be counted in the election.

In an email to the UMD community on Sept. 28, University of Maryland President Daryl Pines said, now, more than ever, we need full participation in our democracy. Above all, please make a plan to vote.”

Not voting is the same as accepting how things currently are. If students want to make changes for the future that will impact the next four years of their lives, they have to make sure their vote is counted. 

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Theresa Thompson’s Flickr account.

Mya Zepp is a journalism and government politics double major and can be reached at Mya27z@gmail.com.

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