Students encouraged to vote in upcoming election

Ashlee Clark

As California voters head to the polls today to decide whether or not to recall Gov. Gray Davis, the deadline to apply for absentee ballots for Kentucky’s own gubernatorial election is approaching.

Students from Kentucky who are registered to vote outside of Warren County have 21 days to apply for a mailed absentee ballot for the Nov. 4 election, which includes a gubernatorial contest.

Democrat Ben Chandler and Republican Ernie Fletcher are the two major candidates for governor.

Absentee voting on machines is also available in each county clerk’s office.

An absentee ballot is used if a person is unable to go the polls on Election Day, according to the Kentucky state Web site.

Warren County Deputy Clerk Mallye Schultz said students who want to be mailed an absentee ballot can get an application from the clerk’s office in the county they’re registered in.

Applications for paper absentee ballots must made by Oct. 28, Schultz said.

Yesterday was the last day to register to vote.

John Bradley, president of Student Government Association, said it’s important for students to get involved because of the gubernatorial election.

“Our system is good, but it requires involvement on every level,” he said. “I do know that some students vote. I wish that more did, because it’s an essential part of our governmental process here in the United States.”

Paris freshman Sara Florence said she was going to apply for an absentee ballot when she went home for fall break.

“I think it’s really important,” she said. “People have died just so we could have the freedom of choice, so we could make our own decisions.”

Students who will be in the county where they are registered can cast an absentee ballot on a voting machine in their county clerk’s office before Election Day, the Kentucky state Web site said.

To use the machine, a registered voter would apply for an absentee ballot at the clerk’s office and vote that same day. The absentee voting machine is similar to the those used on Election Day.

Schultz said the machines used for absentee voting must be set up by Oct. 17, but many clerks prepare the machines before that.

“The machine is a lot easier,” she said. “It’s just like going to the polls on Election Day.”

Political science professor John Parker said he thinks college students are less likely to vote because of hectic schedules.

“Voting by absentee ballot requires forethought and advance action,” Parker said in an e-mail.

He said people trying to meet more immediate deadlines, such as exams or papers, are less likely to apply for absentee ballots, even if they want to.

Cynthiana freshman Sarah Long said she does not plan on voting in the election.

“It’s never been forced upon me,” Long said. “I know it affects my life, but it really doesn’t strike an interest for me.”

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected].