Roughly 45 percent of UM undergraduate students come from outside the state, and absentee ballots enable these students to participate in upcoming elections.
Popular among college students, these ballots are typically completed and mailed in advance of an election by voters who are unable to vote at their respective polling places on election day.
For freshman economics major Jack Sullivan from Indiana, an absentee ballot is the only way to vote in the upcoming November election.
“It is important to vote no matter what state you live in,” Sullivan said. “The results from any election affect every American citizen and I plan to cast my vote even if I’m here at school come November.”
But out-of-state students are not the only ones that can use an absentee ballot. Students who live in the state of Mississippi but cannot make it to their polling location can request to vote absentee. For freshman history major Kyle Brassell, this means of voting is ideal.
“Even though I live in the state, it’s not practical for me to drive an hour both ways just to vote,” Brassell said. “I’ll be voting absentee when it’s time to vote for the next president.”
The eligibility of a voter for an absentee ballot differs from state to state. Registered voters in Mississippi are eligible to vote absentee because of age, health, work demands, temporary relocation for educational purposes or their affiliation with the U.S. Armed Forces, according to the Mississippi Voter Information Guide.
Texas, for example, which is home to the largest group of UM’s out-of-state students, allows disabled voters to vote absentee, as well as those 65 or older, out of the country during the election or confined in jail but otherwise eligible, according to votetexas.gov.
Voters can no longer register for the Mississippi primary elections Tuesday, but they can still register for the upcoming presidential election until Oct. 8. Registered voters who know they will vote absentee can contact their circuit or municipal clerk’s office within 45 days of the election.
No matter what state a voter lives in, anyone interested in voting by absentee ballot must contact either their circuit or municipal clerk before the state’s deadline for the election in question.
– Abbie McIntosh