I live in an apartment near FSU, but my permanent address is back home. As a college student, what’s the best way to vote in the 2020 presidential election?

I have a confession. I didn't vote in the 2012 Presidential Election. And I'm embarrassed. I had options but I didn't really know what they were. Don't make the same mistake. We're here to help.

I was a sophomore at The University of Florida and had been living in my first college apartment for a few months. It was the very first address I could call my own and I was "adulting". Sound familiar?

As November and the election approached, I realized I had waited too long to update my address or request an absentee ballot. On election day I debated driving the 1.5 hours to my designated polling place back home in Apopka, Florida to vote – but, busy with football season, a full course schedule, and other "important" things, I chose not to make the trip. I still regret it.

You don't have to make the same mistake. Make sure you're registered, request an absentee ballot, or make it a priority to get out to the polls. Take advantage of your first opportunity to make your vote count in a Presidential election!

Being a first-time voter can feel confusing enough. When you add in college classes and being away from home, the process can start to feel even more complicated. We helped you find your college apartment, so it's the least we can do to help you figure out how to vote at your new address. Follow these steps to determine where to cast your ballot:

Step 1: Determine where you want to register to vote.

Out-of-state FSU students can decide if they want to register to vote in their hometown state or the state of Florida. In making this decision, a FSU Seminole might consider factors such as:

• Local issues that might impact you during your time on campus
• Ease of absentee voting in your home state
• Swing/battleground state status
• Rules for absentee voting in your home state

In-state FSU students, don't have many decisions to make! Continue to step 2 and simply make sure you are registered to vote in Florida.


Step 2: Register to Vote OR Update Your Address

Not registered yet? Monday, October 5, 2020 is the deadline to register online. To register to vote, visit Florida's Voter Registration Website: https://registertovoteflorida.gov/ and click "New Registration".

Are you already registered to vote in Florida? Double-check your voter status here: https://registration.elections.myflorida.com/CheckVoterStatus.

What address are you registered to vote at?

FSU students legally have the choice to register to vote at their FSU address or home address.

If you choose to register to vote at your home address, be sure to request an absentee ballot in Step 3.

If you choose to register to vote at your FSU housing address, you have the choice to request a mail-in ballot OR vote in person at a polling location.

If you want to update your address to your FSU student housing, visit Florida's Voter Registration Website: https://registertovoteflorida.gov/ and click "Record Update/Change".


Step 3: Get out and VOTE!

Option 1: Vote by Mail (Request an Absentee Ballot to be Mailed to Your FSU Apartment Address)

This option will be best for most FSU students!

Which FSU students request an absentee ballot?

  1. If you are registered to vote at your home address but want to vote by mail from your FSU apartment, you'll request an absentee ballot.
  2. An FSU student might request an absentee ballot if they prefer to mail in their vote instead of visiting the polls in person


How to request an absentee ballot:
You'll request an absentee ballot via your county's Supervisor of Elections office. Select your county from the list here, then find the section on your Supervisor of Elections' website. You'll need to enter the address you're registered to vote at and the address where you want to receive your absentee ballot.


What is the deadline to request an absentee ballot?
For voters registered in Florida, the deadline to request an absentee is TEN days before the election. This will be: Saturday, October 24, 2020. Do not procrastinate, just follow the link to request your absentee ballot right now and you won't have to worry about the deadline.

Be advised that states have different requirements, and this article would be too long if we listed them all! If you'll be voting based on your home state, simply select your state from the dropdown at this link to learn about your home state's absentee voting deadlines: https://www.nass.org/can-i-vote/absentee-early-voting

Can I drop off my mail-in absentee ballot in person?

You can only drop off a mail-in ballot to your local supervisor of elections. In other words, if you are registered to vote in Gainesville and want to drop off an absentee ballot in person, you can only drop it off in your county. To drop off an absentee ballot in person, visit any of the polling places during early voting and drop it off. Another alternative, (for example, if you missed the deadline), is to exchange the mail-in ballot at your assigned polling place for an in-person ballot on election day.


Option 2: Vote in Person at a Polling Location near FSU


This option will only work for students who are registered to vote at their FSU apartment address.

 

If you chose to register at your Florida State University apartment address, you can vote at a polling place near campus! Find your polling place on the Leon County Supervisor of Elections website by entering your address here: https://www.leonvotes.gov/YourVoterinfo

We can all anticipate there will still be social distancing precautions in place during the election, so be sure to pack up your mask, hand sanitizer, and your fellow roommates and classmates and head to your polling location. (Or, encourage one another to make sure you've remembered to mail in your ballot if you have chosen an alternate voting method!) But, if you're voting in person, avoid crowds by voting during early voting days (Saturday October 24 – Saturday October 31st) – just double-check the hours that your polling place offers for early voting. Or, get the full Election Day experience and visit your polling place on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020!

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentTally.com or any of our advertising partners.