Posters promiting voting and displaying voting information are hung across the Lawrence University campus.
Photos by Sebastian Evans.
A guide to voting in the the 2020 General Election as a Lawrence student, from early absentee voting to the line at the polls on Election Day
The 2020 General Election will be taking place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. While some students have already gotten involved in the election in various ways ,including campaigning, volunteering as poll workers and early voting, with four days until the polls open in-person, most Lawrentians still have time to vote in Wisconsin. For students registered to vote in any other state, additional information can be found at vote.org.
Lawrentians have several options for voting, either by turning in an absentee ballot or voting in-person on Election Day. Dean of Students Curt Lauderdale has been working to get information about voting out to students via email.
Following the Oct. 26 Supreme Court ruling that mail-in ballots in Wisconsin must arrive at the City Clerk’s office by Election Day, Lauderdale emphasized that in order for students who have already received absentee ballots to make sure their vote is counted, they can return their ballots in-person at drop boxes in Appleton. The nearest drop box is located at Appleton City Hall.
For students who have not requested an absentee ballot or registered to vote, other voting options are still available. Although it is too late to register online or by mail, students can still register in person at the City Clerk’s office through Oct. 30. If students are unable to register by then, Wisconsin also allows voters to register in person at their polling place on Election Day. The polling place for Lawrence students is the Memorial Presbyterian Church on College Avenue.
To register, students living on campus must bring an approved form of voter ID. A standard Lawrence ID or driver’s license from a different state are not acceptable. If students do not have a valid Wisconsin ID or passport, they can go to the Warch Campus Center to get a voter identification card. Students living off campus who are registering to vote in Appleton must also bring proof of residence, such as a bank statement or a paycheck stub. Lauderdale encouraged students to register before Nov. 3, if possible, in order to prevent last-minute issues with their registration.
On Nov. 3, there will be faculty, staff and student volunteers to escort students to their polling place between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. if they decide to vote in person or would like assistance in finding their polling place.
As a former poll worker, senior Hannah Baron volunteered to be a poll worker advocate in preparation for the 2020 General Election. As a poll worker advocate, Baron encouraged students to apply to be poll workers through social media. Baron encourages students to vote early if possible and to be prepared to wait in line if they choose to vote on Nov. 3 because of anticipated increased voter turnout.
According to Baron, it is important not to wear any masks or clothing items that may be associated with a particular candidate when they go to vote, as this can violate campaign laws and prevent students from voting. According to Baron, students are both the largest demographic and the largest demographic that does not vote. Baron urges students to vote in this election because they have the potential to influence the outcome.
“I really want to stress the importance of voting,” Baron said. “Being a young person, it’s hard to feel like your voice matters, especially in politics. We have to unite as a generation and step up to the plate and do this. Make a plan for voting.”
Additionally, Lauderdale urged students to check their information before voting. He explained that it is important to make sure students know where their polling place is located and verify their registration before going to vote on Nov. 3 to prevent any issues on Election Day. He also said that if students have any questions about voting in Wisconsin, they can check myvote.wi.org and appleton.org.
“Educate and act,” Lauderdale said.
Sophomore Jonathan Hogan, a fellow with the Campus Election Engagement Project, agreed with Lauderdale. He stated that working to make voting as easy as possible is of the utmost importance. As a fellow, he worked to increase voter turnout on campus by setting up a voter registration table in Warch Campus Center. Hogan knows that some parts of the voting process can be confusing. To combat this, he recommended making a voting plan as soon as possible.
“By making a plan early, you allow yourself time to clarify issues and, therefore, ensure that your vote gets counted,” Hogan emphasized.
Sophomore Maya Lines said that voting is a privilege and a powerful way to make a difference. Lines has worked with Hogan on a variety of voter engagement events, including the registration table in Warch Campus Center.
Lines stated, “I believe that voting in this election is a critical opportunity to speak out loudly for values that are important to you.”