By Nicholas Bainbridge
The 2020 United States presidential elections draw near. Some states are already accepting early voting, and North Carolina will begin early voting on Oct. 15.
To meet the needs of students who are eligible to vote, High Point University is taking measures to ease the voting process. HPU Votes ian ongoing initiative led by HPU’s Office of Student Life to help students participate in the democratic process.
Not everyone has the means to travel to a local voting center. COVID-19 concerns have led to social distancing measures that discourage large gatherings. HPU Votes is meant to solve these issues.
There are two main methods available for those with limited access to transportation or those looking to forgo in-person voting. HPU Votes will have a series of shuttles specifically for transporting students to and from voting facilities, enabling in-person voting.
HPU Votes is also making use of Turbovote, an online service that lets people receive mail-in ballots. This service enables people to vote without having to leave their homes, or in the case of HPU students, campus.
To use either of these options, one must be registered to vote. Turbovote provides some assistance with the voter registration process and has a tutorial for those with state-issued IDs. The tutorial can be accessed at Turbovote.org.
Turbovote is just a helping tool, however. The standard process requires filling out an official North Carolina voter registration form and submitting it to the North Carolina State Board of Elections or the County Board of Elections for your respective county.
Voting registration in North Carolina must be completed by Oct. 9, so prospective voters need to be registered soon.
Students who come from outside North Carolina also need to consider their home state’s voting rules and time periods, as those may differ from how North Carolina is handling voting. They can still cast their vote, but due to the distance, they will need to make use of mail-in ballots. Additionally, different states have their own voting registration forms to fill out and have different requirements.
It is worth noting for out-of-state students that the North Carolina State Board of Elections permits college students who live on campus to register their university as their residence. This way, they can be counted as a North Carolina voter, as well as a voter in their university’s county.
For HPU students, they will be considered Guilford County voters. However, electing to register this way prevents students from participating in their home state’s elections.
Additional information on HPU Votes and access to Turbovote can be found at highpoint.edu/hpuvotes.
When deciding who to vote for, there are many factors to consider. The Pew Research Center is a non-partisan source that provides research and information on various topics including what topics are being discussed in politics.
On Aug. 13, Pew found that the economy was one of the issues most people claim is a relevant factor in who they vote for, with 79% of their respondents listing it as a primary concern.
While not as frequently considered as the economy, Pew found that more than half of their sample consider the issues of health care, new Supreme Court appointments, the handling of COVID-19, violent crime and race issues to be important factors. However, this is far from a comprehensive list of the issues being discussed. It’s necessary to research how current President Donald Trump and his challenger, Joe Biden, plan to address these issues when deciding how to vote.