Students in isolation, quarantine can vote on Election Day
November 1, 2020
Voting in person on Election Day isn’t possible this year for Hokies who are in campus isolation or quarantine because of COVID-19.
But Virginia Tech is offering a way for these students to cast votes in the 2020 presidential election.
Those who already are registered to vote in Montgomery County may apply for an emergency absentee ballot. Once approved, they will receive a paper ballot to cast their vote from campus on Nov. 3.
Virginia Tech’s Housing and Residence Life, along with the Dean of Students Office, are maneuvering the voting process for students who are staying in New Hall West or East Eggleston Hall, the campus designated quarantine and isolation spaces. As of Nov. 1, there were 91 students living in these spaces.
“We do have very civically engaged students,” said Amanda Eagan, assistant director for Housing and Residence Life. “It is important to provide a service to students that I would want provided to me if I was stuck in isolation or quarantine.”
In order to vote, students first must request a ballot application from Housing and Residence Life by noon on Nov. 2. A representative from that office will deliver applications to students’ rooms and pick them up once completed. Afterwards, staff from the Dean of Students Office will deliver the applications to the Montgomery County General Registrar of Elections.
On Nov. 3, voting students will be assigned a designated time to walk outside to fill out absentee ballots at tables in front of New Hall West or East Eggleston. After voting is complete, the ballots will be delivered back to the Montgomery County General Registrar to be counted in the election.
“There are a lot of steps that go into them getting to vote, but we are excited that it’s an option,” Eagan said.
Some students in quarantine or isolation already received absentee ballots from their hometowns. Housing and Residence Life representatives helped these students to mail the ballots back to their localities, Eagan said.
“We want to give our students the opportunity to show up,” said Sean Grube, director of Housing and Residence Life.
— Written by Jenny Kincaid Boone