Information on voting as a student at The University of New Hampshire

Hayley Barnhard, Contributor

The 2020 presidential election is on Nov. 3 and students at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) have a variety of ways they can cast their vote.  

UNH students can choose to vote with an absentee ballot, in person at Oyster River High School in Durham, N.H. on Election Day, or in their home state, according to UNH Votes. For students who aren’t registered to vote, registration in Durham is open until Nov. 3. 

According to the town of Durham website, to register you will need to visit Durham’s Town Hall located on 8 Newmarket Road. Documentation proving your identity, age, citizenship, and domicile in Durham is needed. 

UNH students who live out of state but wish to vote in New Hampshire can do so with proof of a dorm, apartment or house residence in Durham.  

UNH students also have the option of voting via absentee ballot at Durham Town Hall, and previously at Huddleson Hall on campus. 

Registration and absentee voting at Huddleson Hall are fully booked, but participants can sign up to be on the waitlist for Saturday, Oct. 24. Pre-registration is required and can be found on the UNH Votes website

Certified Town Clerk-Tax Collector, Lorrie Pitt, said voters often confuse absentee ballots with mail-in ballots, which don’t exist in the state of New Hampshire. 

There are only absentee ballots in New Hampshire at this time, and there are no drop-boxes located anywhere in Durham. 

“If it wasn’t for Covid, the only reason someone could request an absentee ballot is if they were unable to be in town on the day of election during polling hours, observing a religious holiday, or physically disabled” said Pitts. 

Pitts said due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), absentee voting has now been opened up to people caring for children during quarantine, people who are sick, or people who don’t feel comfortable showing up to the polls in person. 

“Absentee ballots need to be requested in writing. Students should come to the clerk and request an absentee ballot anytime between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday,” said Pitts. 

Melanie Matts, UNH student and absentee voter, said her experience voting at Huddleston Hall on the UNH campus was very easy and convenient. 

“I voted in New Hampshire because I’m originally from New York but because of the party I’m voting for my vote would matter more in New Hampshire,” said Matts. 

Matts said voting is extremely important to her as a UNH student, saying, “Especially being a member of Gen Z, we’re supposed to make up 10% of voters in this election. Voting was something I had to do as one of my basic human rights.” 

While there is no specific deadline for absentee ballots, recommends “requesting your ballot at least seven days before election day.”  

UNH professor, Petar Ramadanovic, also voted with an absentee ballot due to his wife’s medical issues. “[COVID-19] defined the way I voted but did not determine my choice of who I voted for,” Ramadanovic said. 

Ramadanovic said he “emigrated from a place where I could not vote. [Voting] is one of the most important civic actions we can do.” 

Allison Mozzicato, UNH student, is choosing to vote in person at Oyster River High School instead of her home state, Massachusetts. Mozzicato said, “While I could vote in Massachusetts, I feel as though looking at the history of how the states swing, my vote matters more in New Hampshire.” 

To track the status of your absentee ballot, go to the New Hampshire Secretary of State website under the “absentee ballot tab.” The status will show if the clerk has received your request for an absentee ballot, when the absentee ballot was sent to you, and when it was received back in the clerk’s office.