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Delayed mail cycle brings uncertainty to first-time Miami voters

<p>Mail delays are making students anxious as they prepare for to vote by mail the upcoming election cycle.</p>

Mail delays are making students anxious as they prepare for to vote by mail the upcoming election cycle.

Unpredictability is a common theme among Miami University students this fall. Whether it’s the homebound first-years unsure of the possibility of seeing campus, or the seniors holding onto the hope of ending their college experience with some sense of normalcy, each student shares the feeling of uncertainty for the future.

But delays in the United States Postal Service (USPS)— especially as they relate to the upcoming presidential election — are only worsening students’ anxiety about what the future holds. 

Sophomore Kiki Hale is currently living off-campus in Oxford. She says she has her doubts about the election and the mail-in voting process. 

“I’m feeling really nervous,” Hale said. “Not only about the results, but I’m nervous my vote won’t count.”

This year will be the first time Hale will be voting in any election. She is registered to vote in her hometown of Roswell, Ga., so she must vote using an absentee ballot — a form that she has been waiting more than six weeks to receive.

“I think my ballot will get here in time [for the election], but it makes me nervous for people who haven't ordered their absentee ballots yet,” Hale said. “I have time to spare, but those who order their ballots, let’s say, a month before the election, if this delay pattern continues, others might lose their opportunity to be able to vote.” 

Josie Carter, another sophomore living off-campus in Oxford, shares Hale’s feelings. She is also a first-time voter and will need to vote by absentee ballot in the upcoming election. She said she hasn’t requested her ballot yet but knows she needs to soon. Carter explained that her lack of knowledge on the voting process is somewhat overwhelming.

“I am a little bit anxious about the process because it is all so new,” Carter said.

She feels that she could be more educated on the voting process, especially with the unpredictable circumstances that currently surround it. 

One worry Hale and Carter both share is the possibility of alterations to their mail-in ballots.

“I feel like someone is going to mess with the mail-in ballots in some type of way,” Hale said.

This fear surrounding the security of using mail-in ballots to vote is a common concern not only among Miami students, but one that is shared across the nation.

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“To be clear, we will do everything we can to handle and deliver election mail in a manner consistent with the proven processes and procedures that we have relied on for years,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Aug. 24. “Nevertheless, I encourage all Americans who choose to vote by mail to request their ballots early and to vote early, as a common sense best practice.”

Dejoy said the USPS is fully prepared to take on the mail volume that is expected to go through their facilities during this election process.

“I think a lot more young people want to turn out and vote in this election, you know?” Hale said. “I just hope that slow mail cycles won’t stop that from still happening.”

Visit Rock the Vote’s website for more Ohio voting information.