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Barry Students Casting Ballots

By Amanda Gonzalez Garcia 

In the coming weeks, Americans will cast their vote for the general election. As the election approaches, Barry students should remain aware of the importance of their participation, whether through in-person or mail-in voting.

A survey conducted on 166 Barry students revealed that 83 percent of students have an interest in participating in the upcoming elections, while 17 percent expressed otherwise. Students who plan to vote noted that their preferred voting method is in-person.

Graphic Credit to Melissa Manohar

Senior criminology major Camila Lavastida has chosen to vote in person rather than by mail in order to make the most of the experience.

“I wanted to actually experience what it is to get up and go vote on Election Day all while respecting the CDC guidelines,” said Lavastida.

Other students have chosen not to vote by mail due to the backlash faced by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The backlash comes due to the U.S. Postmaster General and CEO of USPS Louis DeJoy’s desire to alter important aspects of USPS service like taking letter sorting machines offline, removing collection boxes in Western states and cutting back on post office hours.

However, professor of political science at Barry, Dr. Sean Foreman, attributes part of the backlash at USPS to comments President Donald Trump has made about the potentially fraudulent nature of by-mail voting.

On May 28, President Trump tweeted, “Mail-in voting will lead to massive fraud and abuse.”

Graphic Credit to Y'all Politics

In response, FBI Director Christopher Wray notes that the FBI has seen no evidence of voting fraud on behalf of USPS.

Further, as of Aug. 18, DeJoy said that he would postpone any changes in USPS until after the 2020 election to “avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail,” according to CNBC. He believes USPS will be able to manage mail-in ballots.

Photo of Barry Student Stephanie Fuentes by Nicole Valdes

Due to the variety of voting options, Dr. Foreman, who founded the Campus Democracy Project (CDP) at Barry in 2012, urges everyone to take advantage of their chance to vote.  

“Whether it's your first time voting or you've done it before this is one of the most important rights you have and now is the time to exercise it,” said Dr. Foreman.

As a nonpartisan group for students, CDP allows students to inform one another about voting and election resources. Dr. Foreman believes students will listen more to their peers than they will to a professor. As a result, students in CDP are well-informed on political topics. 

Photo of Barry Student Avery Pollard by Nicole Valdes

“Students who form part of CDP are trained with the necessary skills and resources to then meet with other students and share in hopes of creating more engaged voters,” said Dr. Foreman.

The main goal of CDP is to encourage students to vote. Although voting requires students to educate themselves about candidates and their political stances, it is essential for students to cast a ballot. 

“Get informed and vote. We always hear that this is the most important election of our lifetimes and probably to some extent each election is more important than the last one,” said Dr. Sean Foreman.

Students can find resources at the Florida Division of Elections website and the CDP section of Barry’s website.

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