Home Campus Students in quarantine will be able to vote by absentee ballot, Ohio U says

Students in quarantine will be able to vote by absentee ballot, Ohio U says

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*Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include information from Debbie Quivey, the director of the Athens County Board of Elections.

Ohio University will help students in quarantine vote absentee Nov. 3 in light of their inability to physically go to the polls on Election Day. 

“Housing & Residence Life is partnering with University mail services to ensure that absentee ballots for those that are unable to leave quarantine or isolation are delivered to those impacted,” Pete Trentacoste, the executive director of Housing and Residence Life, wrote in an email. 

Trentacoste also said the university will help those entering quarantine or isolation this week file for an absentee ballot, up to the Oct. 31 deadline. 

The Athens County Board of Elections (BOE) is also working with Ohio University to help students in isolation register. Students can request an absentee ballot for where they are registered and the BOE office will make sure the applications are mailed where they needed to go, Director Debbie Quivey said.

Quivey urged students, however, to vote early to avoid the risk of being trapped in a dorm on election day.

“We’re trying to encourage them to vote now so they don’t get caught in quarantine,” Quivey said.

As Election Day approaches, some students remain in quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19. At Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting, Vice President of Student Affairs Jenny Hall-Jones said less than a dozen students are currently in isolation housing.

Hall-Jones also addressed concerns about quarantined students’ access to voting rights. She said Res. Life staff members are dropping these students’ ballots off at the Board of Elections.

“We have individually reached out to them to make sure that they either had their absentee ballot, or if not, that they’re filling it out and that they get it to Housing and Residence Life staff,” Hall-Jones said.

The blanket quarantine order for residents of Tiffin and Jefferson Halls, where spikes of COVID-19 cases were reported, ended on Oct. 25. Residents of Boyd Hall, the first dorm to be put under a blanket quarantine, were released from quarantine on Oct. 21.

Athens County currently has 287 active COVID-19 cases, according to the Athens City-County Health Department. Though it has been denoted as a high-incidence zone, Athens County remains at Level 2 status, according to the Ohio Public Health Advisory System

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