With the Texas primary election commencing on March 8, the midterm election season is quickly approaching.
The Daily sat down with StanfordVotes co-directors Cameron Lange ’24 and Emily Handsel ’24 to learn about how students on campus can participate in primary elections across the country. StanfordVotes is a nonpartisan student-led initiative that seeks to enhance civic engagement, voter registration and voter turnout at Stanford.
Here’s what you need to know about the voting process.
What are primary elections and why are they important?
Primary elections determine which candidates will run in the general election. Voter eligibility for each primary depends on the seats up for election, the political party and jurisdiction. In closed primaries, only registered party voters can participate, and in open primaries, all voters can vote without stating their party affiliation.
Primaries are important because they allow individuals to have a say in their political party’s direction, according to Lange and Handsel. In some districts or states that are heavily Republican or Democratic, the primary will be the deciding factor in who gets the seat, according to Handsel. For example, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez’s 2018 primary election win in New York secured her a seat in the House.
What primary elections are coming up?
The upcoming primaries include gubernatorial, mayoral, state, Senate and House of Representatives races. Because the date of elections vary by state, Lange and Handsel advised students to look for their state’s specific voting deadlines.
How can students vote from campus?
In-state students can request a vote-by-mail ballot ahead of the primaries, or they can vote in-person on campus on California’s Election Day in June, the two added. If a student is from outside of California, they have the option to register to vote as a Californian on TurboVote because they currently reside in California. If the student prefers to vote in their home state’s primary election, they can request for their absentee ballot to be sent to Stanford.
How should students address their ballots if they are voting by mail?
Students should ensure that the name on the address of their ballot matches the name entered during voter registration. Typically, Stanford’s package centers ask students to address mail to their name and SUNet ID, but when ordering ballots, Lange and Handsel said students should be able to receive their ballot if they address them using only their first name, last name and the package center address. Students can then return their ballots to any outgoing USPS mailbox, the two added.