Special Report

Election 2012

Swing state students debate: absentee ballot or register at school?

As the 2012 Presidential election looms, college students straddling New York and their hotly contested swing states such as Ohio and Wisconsin are grappling with where to cast their ballot. They have the option of either registering to vote in New York, or sending their vote home with an absentee ballot in the hopes of making their state swing a little more their way.

This choice brings to mind something a politically charged Dr. Seuss would say, “One state, two state, red state, blue state.” This (slightly altered) mantra is a full on rumba for those students hailing from the swing states.

In interviews with seven New York University undergraduates through Facebook and email, five out of the seven responded that they were sending absentee ballots home in support of President Obama. The other two were planning on sending absentee ballots home, but were still undecided about which candidate they were going to check off.

In their responses, they noted that Mitt Romney and President Obama are campaigning relentlessly in their schools, offices, and airwaves. They understood the election will be decided by the slimmest of margins their home states and their votes are the ones that will potentially decide the next President of the United States. And they’re not taking it lightly.

Sundus Arain, a 20 year-old NYU student from Germantown, Wisconsin, who sent for an absentee ballot from Abu Dhabi where she is studying abroad, said, “The sad truth is, my vote does count more than others, especially in Wisconsin. It’s a tight race there.”

Jonathon Kopnick, a 19-year-old NYU student from Wyoming, Ohio echoes the sentiments. No Republican candidate since Abraham Lincoln has won the Presidency without winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes.

“As the politics of Ohio have a way greater sway on the national level then those of New York, it makes more sense to vote where I grew up,” Kopnick said. Absentee ballots made up about 30 percent of the vote in Ohio — numbers that definitely hold some weight according to United States Election Project, but that’s referring to current residents not absentee ballots

With regard to how students prefer to vote, a study by Circle for the 2008 election found that college students from swing states chose absentee voting in their home states by an 8:1 ratio over voting in their college state. Michael Peshkin, a Northwestern professor who conducted the study, stated that he predicts those numbers will increase for the 2012 election, “Overall in the U.S., absentee and early voting have been strongly on the rise.  I’d expect students to be ahead of the curve.”

While it seems most students from swing states choose absentee to optimize their vote, a few specified kinship to their home state. In addition to her vote “counting more,” Carolyn Boyce, NYU student from Cincinnati, Ohio, said, “I still feel like I live in Ohio, not the state where I’m going to college.”

No student seemed deterred by the voter registration process in New York, which requires a filing a completed form 25 days before the election. In fact, it seemed none of them even considered voting in New York in the first place. New York’s hue is too steadfastly blue to be of any excitement. Leah Shultheis, a 19 year-old NYU student from Westerville, Ohio, said that because New York is guaranteed to go blue, ”My vote in New York would have been almost a waste. As for who I’ll be voting for, one thing is certain,” she continues, “it won’t be Romney on my ballot.”

Time to rumba.



Other Stories in Special Report: Election 2012

Minnesotans reject amendment to ban same-sex marriage

Kelsey Kudak November 7, 2012

Divided Electorate Votes to Give Obama More Time

Alex Jung November 7, 2012

How GenY Voted

Staff of The Beat Covering GenY November 6, 2012

North Carolina: Amendment One and the Black Vote

Alaia Howell November 6, 2012

What’ll it Be, Mr. President?

Suzie Hodges November 6, 2012

Stand By Your Man

Cristina Alonso November 6, 2012

Third party candidates: A long shot worth taking?

Joanna Marshall November 6, 2012

Colia Clark, Green Party candidate for Senate, Strives for Change

Robert Tutton November 6, 2012

Hydrofracking Becomes Issue in State Senate Race

Will Dietrich-Egensteiner November 6, 2012

A Warzone of Harassing Comments

Angela Flynn November 6, 2012

Harnessing the Youth Vote in 2012

Alena Hall November 6, 2012

From Assembly to Congress?

laura li November 6, 2012

A group of New Yorkers canvas in Philadelphia

Sarah Gray November 6, 2012

Black Voters Face Pressure from Voting Restrictions and from One Another

Melissa Bailey Diallo November 6, 2012

Chappaqua’s most famous residents: the Clintons

Laura Gurfein November 5, 2012

Chinese-American voters support Obama

Jia Guo November 5, 2012

West Africans views of the 2012 U.S. presidential election

Lauren Morton November 4, 2012

Key voter demographic: homeowners facing foreclosure

Eric Zerkel November 4, 2012

Carbon neutral cupcakes for Obama

Lori-Lee Emshey November 4, 2012

Saturdays for Obama

Laura Entis November 4, 2012

For Politico blogger Alex Burns covering the presidential campaign is science

Alissa Katz November 4, 2012

Brooklyn Tea Party President Runs for NY State Assembly

Renee Jacques November 4, 2012

Upcoming Election Provokes Anxiety for Trans Voters

Alex Jung November 4, 2012

Student’s choice: where one votes matters

Sarah Wentz November 4, 2012

A catch-22 for evangelical Latino voters

Corrie Mitchell November 4, 2012

Knitting and purling for Obama

Megan Soll November 4, 2012

Perspectives on New York’s new Congressional districts

Lila Selim November 2, 2012

American Catholics Divided over Politics of Contraception and Poverty

Peter DAmato November 2, 2012

Felons disenfranchised in New York and other states, despite the law

Emma Quail October 31, 2012

Technology challenges privacy during election campaigns

Anna Callaghan October 31, 2012

US foreign policy success in Burma overshadowed in election

Elizabeth Shim October 31, 2012

Local politicians court city’s Arab-American vote

Jackson Perry October 30, 2012

NYU students hustle to get the vote out

Sara Afzal October 29, 2012

The “Moho” Vote

Nicole Disser October 29, 2012

‘Stamp Stampede’ at Union Square

Morgan Ribera October 25, 2012

Home call centers foster camaraderie among volunteers

Ted Simmons October 18, 2012

Voices outside of the Hofstra Presidential Debate

Colleen Quigley October 16, 2012