A Guide to Voting for College Students

While some college students have experience voting in a presidential election, it is a process that is unfamiliar to most younger people. Voting can be a daunting process even without social distancing rules. Several organizations exist to deliver information about the voting process and how you can take part. While rules and regulations differ from state-to-state, it is vital to understand how voting works for your situation.

· You will need to provide proof of residency in order to register.

Whether you are trying to register to vote while away at school or back at home, you will need to be able to provide proof of residency in order to complete your registration. These can range from rental leases to paycheck stubs. The exact documents you need to provide can vary, so it is important to check on your desired state’s official guidelines.

· Prepare to request an absentee-ballot or travel to a voting place.

Those voting from out of state or avoiding crowds can vote through the use of an absentee ballot in the mail. States have varying rules regarding these ballots and those allowed to use them, so make sure not to wait until the last minute to request one. Despite anecdotal claims to the contrary, mail-in ballots are just as safe as any other. Those living out of state or at high risk for COVID are encouraged to request their absentee ballots as early as possible. You are able to turn in your vote in New Mexico and track its progress by visiting the website of the New Mexico Secretary of the State.

· Voting in person can be a very time-consuming task depending on your location.

Some have reported very little difficulty in voting during the pandemic, while others have had to wait in socially distanced lines for several hours. The efficiency of each voting place can range widely, with some states providing much more streamlined processes than others. Arriving early and well prepared for a long wait to vote will make a sizable difference for those living in more populated areas.

Voting can seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but the truth is that registering to vote can take as few as five minutes. The use of absentee ballots can be hugely beneficial for those unable to reach an in person voting place. Whether you prefer to vote in person or at home, it is more important than ever to take even a passing interest in current events and to make sure your voice is heard. Those looking for New Mexico voting information can visit https://www.sos.state.nm.us/voting-and-elections/voter-information-portal/absentee-and-early-voting/

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