Voting during COVID-19 Pandemic | Pacific Votes

Do you have questions about voting during the COVID-19 pandemic? The McCall Center can help.

I have been recently displace by the wildfire - can I still cast a ballot for my home address?

In Oregon, you can cast your ballot for your home address even if you you are temporarily staying elsewhere. Oregon's vote by mail system allows voters to receive a ballot at an address different from their permanent address. You will need to update your mailing address on to ensure you receive a ballot. Laura Fosmire, spokesperson for the Oregon Secretary of State's office, has said "The wildfires have been hugely impactful in Oregon, but we are fortunate to have much flexibility built into our vote by mail system." 

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 registered to vote in Oregon but then moved home. Do I need to cancel my Oregon Voter registration?

Oregon county elections offices are responsible for mailing ballots and registering voters. If you registered in Oregon and have since moved home, you can contact your elections office to have your name removed from the rolls. Beyond this, however, he most important thing to remember is that you should never cast more than one ballot (aka one in Oregon and one in your home state).    

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 your permanent residency is in one of those states and still need to register to vote, there are virtual nonprofits you can use to register online, at no cost to yourself.

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!