Voting at Vassar: How to cast a ballot from the bubble

It’s been said by both Democrats and Republicans: this is the most important election of our lifetimes. Whether or not Vassar students can physically go to the polls on Election Day is yet to be determined, but there are many ways for students to ensure that their voices are heard and votes counted. According to Democracy Matters co-President Cassie Cauwels ’22, Vassar students can vote either for candidates in their hometown district or in one of Poughkeepsie’s districts. One way to decide is through Voteology, a website that compares districts and calculates where a vote would have more impact. Below are details for both out-of-state and in-state voting.

Voting in Dutchess County:

According to Cauwels, the Vassar administration is currently deciding whether or not students will be allowed to vote in-person. Administration is also considering allowing students to participate in early voting. However, Cauwels recommends requesting a mail-in ballot in case a campus shutdown or coronavirus breakout prevents students from physically attending polls. 

  • If you have a New York State ID, you can register to vote on the New York State Website. 
  • If you do not have a New York State ID, go to TurboVote and complete the application for a mail-in-ballot, then print it out and deliver the form to the gray box by the Information Desk in the College Center. 
    • Note: include dorm room #, dorm building and Vassar PO Box in address for application.
    • You can still vote in-person if you request an absentee ballot. If you decide to do so, bring the absentee ballot to a polling location and a staff member can discard your ballot. 
  • When you receive the ballot and are preparing to mail it back, free stamps are available from Democracy Matters and your dorm voting advisor. Stamps can also be purchased in the College Store. Deliver your ballot to the mail slots in the Retreat. 
  • The deadline to submit your application for a NYS ballot is Oct. 27. The Vassar Post Office must receive your mail by 11:30 a.m. to be postmarked for that specific day. However, it is recommended that you submit your application and ballot much earlier to give the post office adequate time to deliver it. 
  • Vassar is divided into different voting districts. If you have recently moved into the TAs, THs or SoCos, you will need to register in a new voting district. Just to be safe, it is also best to do this if you have changed dorm buildings on campus. 
    • The deadline to change your voting address is Oct. 14. 

Voting Out of State:

  • All states have different voting deadlines: Be sure to check yours online. 
  • States handle the application process for absentee voting differently; go to TurboVote and register to vote in your home state. 
  • Apply for an absentee ballot and follow instructions. 
  • For states that are automatically mailing out ballots, it is important to call your Board of Elections and have your ballot forwarded to your Vassar address. 
  • Double check the stamp requirements for your state; some states have prepaid ballots, while others require stamps. 

Cauwels emphasized that if students have questions or concerns about how they will vote, they can contact Democracy Matters, their dorm voting advisor or The Vassar Votes Team (Lisa Kaul, John Bradley, Sonia Santos, Jean Hinkley and Cassie Cauwels). 

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