Voters are seen turning in their ballots at CSUDH’s voting center. Photo by Jonathan Ghattas.
By Jonathan Ghattas, Staff Reporter
Anxiety across the nation appears to be rising as one of the most critical presidential election approaches. With early voting underway in several states, millions of ballots have been cast as voters wait out long lines to ensure their voices are heard. While many of these voters have no other choice but to tolerate these lines, voters in California do have the option to vote by mail.
Despite receiving much more attention due to the nature of the coronavirus pandemic and controversial comments by the President, voting by mail has a long-standing tradition in several states excluding California. States such as Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington exclusively hold elections through mail-in voting. While the thought has been brought up that voting by mail creates more fraud, it produces the opposite result.
While it’s rare for a mailed-in ballot to be rejected, it actually happened less than two percent of the time over the last two election cycles, a faulty signature or a ballot that was turned in late was one of few ways a vote was not counted. This small margin of error accounted for less than 750,000 of all total votes in 2016.
The President‘s vote-by-mail comments have attempted to sow doubt into the minds of voters, as now many have come to question the trustworthiness of their local post office. Yet despite what has become a clear attempt at voter suppression, this administration fears a hefty voter turn-out due to the growth of mail-in voting across the nation.
As the pandemic continues to rage across the country, more states have allowed voters to request their ballot through the mail with the hopes of reducing the lines come election day. This will ensure that voters are able to vote safely from home and on time, along with the added security of being able to track your ballot. This tracking feature will allow voters to see when their ballot was mailed, received, and counted.
Even with this extra added level of security to the mail-in voting process, voters can rely on heading to their local polling stations to drop off their ballot there.
Nicole-Figueroa Sierra, an Advertising and Public Relations major at CSUDH and a first-time Generation-Z voter has faith in her local voting center.
“I trust my polling place and the volunteers of the community,” Figueroa-Sierra said.
While Figueroa-Sierra plans on going into her local polling station to drop off her ballot, she does believe younger voters will come out and participate.
“I believe the mail-in voting process has made it more approachable for people to vote,” she said.
David Gamboa, Associate Vice President of the Office of Government and Community Relations at CSUDH, is overseeing the voting center on campus and has seen a steady turnout since opening. With 256 people coming out to vote over the weekend, Gamboa anticipates those numbers to increase as election day approaches.
“We simply want to be able to provide those here on campus and in the community a place to safely vote,” Gamboa said.
Whether voters decide to vote by mail or at a local polling station, having faith that their vote will be counted is essential in making sure the democratic process stands the test of time.