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The Antelope

Campus groups host voter registration booths

Lydia Behnk speaks with Brandon Marshall to check to see if he is registered to vote and provide more information.

With the 2020 general election coming up on Nov. 3, voting is on the mind of many individuals. UNK organizations like the American Democracy Project are helping students register to vote and plan for the upcoming election.

Last week, the ADP organized tables for early voting assistance.

“We’ve got students from all over the state here,” said Diane Duffin, associate professor of political science and coordinator of UNK’s ADP. “They’re able to request their absentee ballots [at these booths].” 

A booth was set up Sept. 14-18. The tables were set up outside of the Nebraska Student Union, the College of Education, the Calvin T. Library and Discovery Hall.

Volunteers at these tables were from a variety of clubs and organizations on campus including student workers in ADP, Student Government, Phi Eta Sigma and the Student Veterans Organization. 

Workers at these tables helped Nebraska residents register to vote, change their registered voting address and request early voting ballots. 

“This could be people’s first general election to vote in and there’s a lot of new things for them,” said Lydia Behnk, a student volunteer and junior majoring in 6-12 business marketing information technology. “It’s a crazy year, especially with a pandemic going on. I don’t know where I’ll be Nov. 3, so it’s super important to get on top of that and have a plan.”

Students who missed the opportunity to register to vote or to request an absentee ballot still have plenty of time to do so. 

“There will be voter registration taking place in the Union in Oct.,” Duffin said. “If you don’t get a chance to come to one of these tables, you [can] go to the Nebraska Secretary of State website and register to vote online.”

“If you’re already registered but you want to vote from your Kearney address, you can change your address online for existing voter registration. If you want to have your ballot mailed to you, you can fill out [a] form and have your ballot sent to you. When your ballot comes in the mail, fill it out [and] mail it back.”

Nebraska also allows for early, in-person voting. “You don’t have to wait till Election Day, November 3. As long as it’s a business day after Oct. 5, they will have ballots in your county courthouse,” Duffin said. “That would be a great thing to do for fall break.”

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 26. The deadline for an early/absentee voting application to arrive at the local county election office is Oct. 23. The deadline for ballots to arrive at the local county election office is election day, which is Nov. 3. 

There will be instructions for voters on how to fill out their mailed absentee ballot. Voters can read and follow the instructions, place the ballot in the return envelope that came with it and mail it back. If voters need a stamp, they can message the UNK American Democracy Project on Facebook. They will get a stamp to those who request one.

As election day approaches, voters can learn about the candidates on the ballot and the issues they support. 

“There’s plenty of information out there,” Behnk said. “Follow social media plugs like American Democracy Project, [stay] informed, and reach out to these types of events.”

For more information, students can follow the UNK American Democracy Project on Facebook (UNK American Democracy Project), Twitter (@ProjectUnk), and Instagram (unkadp). 

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