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For Real? College Kids Shunning Absentee Ballots Because They Don't Know Where to Buy a Stamp

10-16-2018
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With the midterm elections just around the corner, a disturbing trend is emerging. Virginia college students have reportedly been failing to mail in their absentee ballots.

The reason? Apparently these Generation Z voters don't know where to purchase stamps.

The odd pattern came to light when Lisa Connors of the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs conducted a focus group made up of college interns.

"One thing that came up – which I had heard from my own kids but I thought they were just nerdy – was that the students will go through the process of applying for a mail-in absentee ballot, they will fill out the ballot, and then, they don't know where to get stamps," Connors told WTOP. "That seems to be like a hump that they can't get across."

"Across the board, they were all nodding and had a very spirited conversation about 'Oh yeah, I know so many people who didn't send theirs in because they didn't have a stamp,'" she said.

While the situation may seem somewhat comical, county officials aren't laughing. Instead, they're hoping to combat the trend by raising awareness of in-person absenting voting – something that can be done while students are at home on fall break.

"We're really working on information to get the college students to be able to actually vote where they're registered and vote absentee because it's very confusing and it has a lot of pieces that can sort of go wrong in the middle of it," said Kate Hanley, Fairfax County Electoral Board secretary.

Meanwhile, country officials have raised one more concern. They're worried students may get their home addresses, the place where they're registered to vote, mixed up with the address they're supposed to mail their ballot to. Such an error would render their voter forms invalid, WTOP reports.

"And so, we have to deny that application," explained Fairfax County General Registrar Gary Scott. "Because we have to match to make sure it's the right person getting a ballot."

Business Insider reports that stamps can be purchased from following places:

  • The US Postal Service
  • Retailers like Amazon and Stamps.com  
  • Banks, gas stations, pharmacies, and big box retailers like Walmart

In-person absentee voting begins this Friday.

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