The August election will be my first time voting. Since I was in high school, I’ve done lots of work encouraging people to register to vote as they turned 18. Now, this summer, I found an awesome job where I encourage people to stay safe and vote at home, as I will be. Actually, I will be voting from college 3,000 miles away from home. My first time voting has always been something I’ve looked forward to; the capability of voting makes me feel like I can truly make my voice heard and contribute to my community. It’s both empowering and exciting.
Being a college student, the absentee voting system is the only possible way to make my voice heard during the election process. Now, the absentee voting system seems like the only way anyone can safely vote this election season. This is made abundantly clear seeing that COVID-19 cases are rising disproportionately among my peers, and there is a unique shortage of polling stations as the election steadily approaches. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer announced that the division of elections would mail absentee applications to everyone over 65. This decision feels like such a complete disconnection from what Alaskans need right now. For safety, and accessibility, all Alaskans young and old need to be encouraged to vote at home.