How Do College Students Vote?
In this column, you ask questions, and Patch finds the answers.
We received a question from a reader who wants to know how college students can vote in November's election. Here's what we found out:
Q: I was just reading the voters guide. This is the first year my daughter can vote. I was wondering what is the procedure for the kids who are away at college? How do they vote?
A: Your college student would vote by absentee ballot. If she lives in Andover, she (or you) should download the form below. If she has officially changed her address to that of her college address, she should contact the Town Clerk in that town.
Here is what we found on the Andover Town Clerk's website:
Absentee Voting Requirements
Voters who are unable to vote on election day because of physical disability, religious beliefs or travel may vote by absentee ballot. State law limits the availability of absentee ballots to the three listed circumstances only. Absentee ballots are not available for mere inconvenience, or because of ordinary commuting-related difficulties. If you will be absent from Andover for an extended period of time, you may submit a single application for all elections occurring within the year the application is accepted.
Obtaining an Application for an Absentee Ballot
Applications for absentee ballots may be obtained from the Town Clerk or the Office of the Secretary of State. Applications may be submitted in person or by mail. The voter, or a family member (father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, grandparent, grandchild, a spouse or person residing in the same household, in-laws, adopting parent or adopted child, stepparent or stepchild, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew), may submit an application. All applications must be signed under the pains and penalties of perjury by the voter, or a family member, before a ballot will be made available. State law requires that we must have a signature of the applicant on file with the request.
In a primary election, a voter who is not registered in a political party must specify the ballot of the party of choice in the application. You will not become registered in a political party because of your participation in a state primary.
The following absentee ballot application can be used for any state or local election.
Returning the Application for an Absentee Ballot
Applications for absentee ballots must be received by the Town Clerk before 12:00 noon the day before an election. (A voter who is admitted to a health care facility after noon of the fifth day before an election may apply for a ballot up until the close of the polls and may request to have the ballot delivered.) Absentee ballots generally are available three weeks before an election.
If the voter submits the application in person, he may obtain the ballot and vote over-the-counter (check with the office to see if the ballots are available). If the ballot is not available, it will be sent to the voter by mail. When the application is submitted in person by a family member, the ballot must be sent by mail to the voter. In all other cases, the ballot is sent by mail.
A list of all voters who obtained absentee ballots is sent to the poll locations to prevent an absentee voter from voting a second time.
Call the Town Clerk's office if you have any questions: (978) 623-8255.