Early voting held at UMass Dartmouth for 2016 election

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by Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer

On October 23 and 24, early voting booths were opened in the Woodland Commons area to allow students registered at UMass Dartmouth to cast their ballots early for the upcoming presidential election.

The voting took place at late night on Monday after six o’clock, to better accommodate work schedules, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, during which many students attended while they were in between classes or on their way back to their dorms.

While traditional voting will be held as usual on Election Day, coming up November 8, early voting is a measure that accommodates for the difficulties and struggles many face in going to the booths on Election Day, most notably the long lines that often move very slowly.

In addition, many have to work and can’t find the time nor place to set aside for voting, and as this option gives them some flexibility while also allowing for them to participate in their civic duty.

For many college students, veterans serving over-seas, and government officials serving on special assignment, getting to the voting booth on election day can be difficult.

For most students who live on campus, finding a way back to their precincts was more inconvenient or having to register there was much less easier than simply registering and voting on campus for the election.

Other than the early times and the more accommodating scheduling, the process of early voting was the exact same as Election Day.

There was a table and booth set up in the Woodland commons conference rooms, during which coordinators of the event sat with a list of everyone registered to vote in Dartmouth and checked their names off when they came in as having participated.

Computers and machines were set up against the wall with the ballot questions and the candidates listed, with partitions between them as to make sure that the ballots were kept secret.

The only requirement for those to be able to cast their vote early at UMass Dartmouth was to be registered in the precinct of Dartmouth.

Once the voting was done and the ballot and choices for the presidential election and the questions were recorded, the students were free to leave. For every student that left, usually one or two more came in and so the line never quite ran out for the time.

The main reasons students chose to do it on campus was for the matter of convenience, such as Riley Palmer, a first-year business major.

When asked if he would change his decision after, if any news came out, he replied that he would remain confident in his decision.

Anya Eacmen, a senior psychology major here at UMass Dartmouth, talked about how it was better than having to commute all the way back to her hometown in order to vote, and made her time significantly easier.

When asked about how he felt about voting in general, Silavong Phimmasone, a sophomore business management major, said it’s a civic duty.

If people don’t cast their vote, they don’t have a say in the outcome.

Early voting closed this Tuesday, and the only other day for voting will take place November 8 on Election Day.

Photo Courtesy: UMass Dartmouth

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