College students have the choice of registering to vote according to either their home or college address. However, this option could cause problems for a vast number of students who registered with their college addresses but have been sent home for the rest of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 24, the Pennsylvania House unanimously voted to postpone the Democratic Primaries until June 2. This leaves a few months for Lafayette students registered in Northampton County to ensure their votes are still counted through Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot option. With this option, any voter who would like to vote early by mail to request a ballot through the state website.
The online application, however, requires a Pennsylvania driver’s license number or a PennDOT ID number. According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, this is because the application requires a signature, and the online application is able to access signatures from the department of transportation.
This requirement poses a roadblock for several out-of-state college students who are registered to vote in various counties throughout Pennsylvania and leaves two options.
First, students can go online and print the application to fill out and send back to their respective counties. In lieu of a Pennsylvania license or PennDOT ID number, applicants need to provide the last four digits of their social security number.
Second, if printer access is limited, students can call their respective counties and request that an application be mailed to them. They would then complete the application and send back to their county office, who would then create a ballot for the individual voter to be mailed to the student. The student would then complete the ballot accordingly and mail their votes back to the Northampton county election office.
All applications for mail-in and absentee ballots must be received by the Northampton county election office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21. Additionally, if a student would like to register to vote in Pennsylvania, they have until 15 days before the election to do so. This, however, should be done soon in order to also complete a mail-in ballot application.
For Lafayette students wishing to call for a mail-in ballot from Northampton county, the number is 610-829-6260. If unable to speak directly with a representative, students are advised to leave a detailed message about their request.
This article has been updated to reflect the most up-to-date information regarding the upcoming elections in Pennsylvania.