Stanford students gear up for mail-in voting

Oct. 24, 2022, 9:49 p.m.

With the midterm elections fast approaching, student groups and administrators are making their annual push for higher voter registration. This time around, that has meant ensuring that students not only know how to vote by mail, but also that they physically can — something that has proved difficult during the last two elections.

StanfordVotes has been at the forefront of student efforts, distributing a guide to mail-in voting to eligible students. The University has also been arranging for the package center to no longer require SUNet ID on voting materials.

Out-of-state students who choose to vote by mail instead of registering to vote in California will either have their ballots sent to them automatically or will have to fill out a mail-in voting application, depending on what state they are from. As a result of the pandemic, all states have given voters the option of voting by mail, simplifying a once more-complicated process.

College marks the first time many students will vote by mail, according to StanfordVotes, a non-partisan student organization that aims to improve Stanford’s voter turnout.

StanfordVotes Chair Cameron Lange ’24 said the group has compiled information and resources to make the process easier on students.

“Students should check out the 50 state voting guide for information on how to vote absentee,” Lange said, referencing the group’s guide, which contains comprehensive information on the widely-varying ID policies and deadlines between states. 

Absentee ballots are automatically sent to all students registered to vote in California. But since many students are registered to vote under their home addresses, Lange explained how these absentee ballots can best reach Stanford. 

“There are two options,” Lange said. “First, you can change your mailing address to the package center. Second, you can ask whoever resides at your address to mail your ballot to you and then send it back.”

Students have encountered difficulties with mail-in voting at Stanford in the past. 

Last year, graduate students living in Escondido Village Graduate Residence (EVGR) reported difficulty registering to vote with their EVGR addresses. 

Stanford spokesperson Luisa Rapport wrote that “[Residential and Dining Enterprises] has worked with UG2 and USPS to ensure that students in EVGR B, C and D are able to conduct important business by mail, including voter registration.” 

Some students also reported complications with registering to vote using the Tresidder Union Package Center. 

Lange said that in order to receive mail, the package center requires that students’ SUNet IDs be on the first line of the address. Yet for most if not all states, the name on the official absentee ballot request form has to match the one on voter registration, Lange said.

The problem has since been resolved, according to the University. Rapport wrote that Tresidder no longer requires SUNet ID on voting materials. 

Students can also register with Santa Clara County if they prefer to drop off their ballots at the polls, Lange added. 

On election day, students registered in the county can stop by Oak Lounge in Tresidder Union to vote in person. 

Isabella He ’26 plans to choose this option.

“Since it’ll be my first time voting, I’m excited to see everyone in-person,” she said.

Hoang Nguyen ’26 also stopped by Tresidder, but he said he is planning to vote by mail in Minnesota because he “knows a little more about the politics and candidates there.” 

After waiting 45 minutes in line at Tresidder for what he thought would be his new magnetic earrings, Hoang said he was instead “pleasantly surprised” with his Minnesota absentee ballot.

Tushar is a writer for the news desk. Contact Tushar at new 'at'

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