Applying Online for Absentee Ballot Helpful to Students

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. -- For the first time, Pennsylvanians can apply online for absentee ballots. Previously, voters who couldn't get to a polling place on Election Day would have to go to their county's voter registration office and file for an absentee ballot.

Beginning Monday, registered voters can go to the state website and register with their driver's license. It'll be a faster process for the voter and should only take a few minutes to apply online before it's sent electronically to your county.

"Once it's certified, we will go through our normal in-house work process which is to create a ballot label. Then once we have ballots available, ballots will be stuffed into envelopes with those ballot labels on them. Then those ballots will go out to voters," explained Columbia County director of election Matthew Repasky.

While it's important for people to get out and vote, it's hard for students to go home and do so. Lawmakers hope this new online absentee ballot will increase the number of students voting in upcoming elections.

"Going home to your hometown when you're at college is not ideal for most people who live a couple hours away, so having it online being readily available is great for the younger generation," said Hannah Gough.

"Our generation isn't really the type to want to fill out stuff on paper. We want to do stuff on our phones, so I think that's going to benefit us a lot," Camden Price of Bloomsburg said.

Universities, including Bloomsburg University, do their best to encourage students to get out and vote.

"A good thing that our university does is we partner with so many different organizations on campus that encourage their members to sign up for, not only to vote at a local region, but federally because at the end of the day, like I mentioned, it's all your constitutional right," said Raul Santana, admissions graduate assistant.

Voters will still have to mail or hand-deliver completed ballots to their county elections office by 5 p.m. on November 1.

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