FAQ: Voting During COVID-19
I moved and set up mail forwarding. Will I get my ballot?
The US Postal service will not forward ballots. To get your ballot, you must update your mailing address. Oregon voters can visit Oregon Votes and select “My Vote”. If you are registered to vote in another state, you can review your state’s absentee voter rules and update your address accordingly.
Will changing my mailing address impact my student loans?
The Brennan Center for Justice says, “Where you register to vote will not affect any of your federal financial aid, including Pell Grants, Perkins and Stafford Loans, Academic Competitive Grants, SMART Grants, and other federal loans. It will also not affect whether you are considered your parents’ dependent for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) purposes.”
There are a select number of private scholarships and grants that are designed exclusively for students with residence in a particular state. For the most part, they define “residence” as where your parents live, and/or where you attended high school—meaning that registering to vote outside the state won’t affect your scholarship eligibility.
I requested an absentee ballot but then moved home. Should I still use the absentee ballot?
If you have moved back to the precinct where you are registered, you do not have to use the absentee ballot and can instead vote per usual at your local polling place. However, you may only do one (aka do not mail back the absentee ballot and also vote in person).
I want to register to vote in my home state but it doesn't allow online registration. What do I do?
At this time, not all US states allow residents to register online. If you have moved home to one of these states, and still need to register to vote, there are virtual nonprofits you can use to register online, at no cost to yourself.
Will my state’s primary election still happen?
The COVID-19 situation is unfolding quickly and many states that have not yet held their primary election are instituting delays and other changes.
As Oregon already votes by mail, our Primary Election will proceed per usual. The deadline to register to vote is April 28th, ballots will be mailed starting April 29th, and must be received by 8pm on May 19th. Ballots can be returned by mail (no postage is necessary) or by Drop Box.
Is it safe to vote in person?
If you will be voting in person, please review the CDC’s Recommendations for Protecting Yourself and Your Family. Consider reviewing your voting rights before going & call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-888-687-8683 if you encounter a problem and need assistance.
Many states allow any resident to apply for an absentee ballot, so if you are concerned about voting in person you may be able to request to vote by mail.
I want to help safeguard our elections. Where should I start?
First: make sure you are registered to vote and your mailing address is up-to-date. Then, talk to your friends and fellow Pacific students to make sure they are doing the same. Get motivated to participate in the upcoming elections, and remember that election day is an excuse to celebrate.
Want to dig deeper? Find out what issues are being tackled in your state & where volunteers are needed (e.g. states that vote in-person need Poll Workers).
I still have questions. Who do I contact?
We’re here to help. Email the MCCE for one-on-one assistance. We’re non-partisan - aka we will never tell you how to vote -but believe fiercely in democracy and helping you exercise this fundamental right.
Whether you’ve always been politically engaged, or are just now realizing the dramatic impact government and elected officials can have in our day-to-day lives, there has never been a better time to make your voice heard. Pacific Votes!
The MCCE hopes everyone will be an active participant in the democratic process and we are here to make sure every Pacific student has the resources they need to vote. Our non-partisan “Pacific Votes” program targets three stages of voter engagement: voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout.
During the lead-up to each election, we sponsor a wide range of on-campus events including a registration drive for National Voter Registration Day, debate viewing parties in the UC, and more. We can always use volunteers for these events! Calls for volunteers will be posted here as events are planned, but you can also email us any time to let us know of your interest and we will proactively notify you when political engagement opportunities arise.
Did you know?
As a college student, you have the choice to vote in Oregon or as an absentee resident of your home state. The entire process can be completed online and has lots of built in flexibility. Here’s the scoop on each step of the process:
As of 2019, the College Democrat and College Republican student clubs are housed in the MCCE. They are two of the many Service, Politics & Advocacy Clubs active on the Pacific Campus and they are working together to help students identify their political values and better understand party platforms, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of registering with a political party.
As we enter a new decade and a fraught election year, it is increasingly apparent that we need spaces on campus, and in our country, where people can hold civil conversations about their political beliefs. While hard, these conversations allow us to find common ground and to challenge, revise, and strengthen our own understanding of the world. Interested in this important work? The McCall Center for Civic Engagement is actively working to strengthen and grow the student-led College Republican & College Democrat clubs at Pacific and we need your help! Leadership and participation opportunities abound. Email us for more information and next steps.
Save The Date!
Oregon Spring Voter Registration Deadline | April 28, 2020
Oregon Primary Election Day | May 19, 2020
National Voter Registration Day | Sept. 22, 2020
Oregon Fall Voter Registration Deadline | Oct. 13, 2020
US Presidential Election | Nov. 3, 2020
The Work We're Doing
Pacific University is committed to strengthening our support of American democracy by enhancing our students' awareness, motivation, and ability to participate in democratic institutions and processes. The non-partisan Pacific Votes program is guided by the Pacific University Action Plan for Strengthening American Democracy, created as part of our participation in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge.
Our participation in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement allows us access to robust, de-identified information about our student body's voting rates. The most recent report compared Student Voting Rates for Pacific University in 2014 & 2018 (the previous report comparing 2012 & 2016 is here). We are pleased to make the report available for public perusal, as well as highlight the following key facts. Between 2014 and 2018, the report shows:
- across-the-board increases by age, class year, enrollment status, gender, and race/ethnicity
- the voting rate of registered students increased 17.4% and was up nearly 20% for both first-year and upper-class students
- a higher turnout rate than the national average for institutions of higher education (43.6% vs. 39.1%)
We believe these efforts bode really well for Pacific students' future democratic engagement & we are excited to continue this important work!
There's Still Work to Be Done
We just made Washington Monthly's list of Colleges Doing the Most to Get their Students to Vote for the second year in a row. For what did we earn this honor? We are making an earnest effort to do better at empowering our students to vote and do so with good information and understanding.
Doing better than the 51% of students who voted in 2016 (or the 43% who voted in 2018) takes a collective effort, and we need a broad group of stakeholders to help our students participate in what feels like a momentous year. Plus, ANYONE can contribute to a work group, even those who cannot, for one reason or another, vote. If you're a student, faculty/staff member, alum, or community member - we need your input! Please email us for more information and to join us efforts.