Ballots have been mailed out to California residents as the presidential election is only weeks away however, some Cal State Fullerton students have seen a delay in receiving their documents.
In the spring semester, students were advised to move out of housing and return to their permanent places of residence, following the stay-at-home order Gov. Gavin Newsom issued to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Larry Martin, the executive director for Housing and Residential Engagement, said that as part of the checkout process, the housing department strongly encouraged students to fill out a change of address form as they exited the dorms, but not every student took up the offer.
Due to the pandemic and the sudden deadline, Arturo Escobedo, second-year graphic design major, said he was unaware of the change of address form when he had to leave the dorms.
“To my knowledge, we were never contacted about any changes to how we were gonna receive mail,” Escobedo said.
Escobedo said he has not contacted the department about the mail issue, but has been receiving redirected mail from the department. Although, when all his family members received their ballots, he checked the status of his online and saw his mailing address was CSUF housing’s address, he said.
Martin said they return all mail to the sender, including ballots, when students have not changed their address. They do have a mail forwarding process that goes on for 30 days, usually in the summer months, but as new students move in staff members focus their efforts on current residents.
As ballots are mailed out in the middle of the semester, Martin said the department is required to follow federal mail-handling policies and have to return the mail to the sender within a day or two if the resident is not living on campus or has changed their address.
Escobedo said that since his mail has been redirected to his home, which may be due to the courtesy period of housing, that his ballot may just be delayed, but is positive it will get mailed to him.
“They have been redirecting my mail towards my correct address, so although this might mean that my mail takes longer to get here, I know it will eventually get here,” Escobedo said.
Jackie Wu, community outreach manager for the Orange County Registrar of Voters Office, said that if the individual does not let the office know their new address, then the office has no way of knowing where to send the ballot but added that there is definitely still time to change address or request a new ballot.
“The students that have moved back home or moved to a different address than the one that they have on file with our office, they need to contact our office with the correct mailing address for us to send their ballot to,” Wu said..
For the fall semester, Martin said housing is at about 12% occupancy, so around 275 students live on campus compared to the usual 2,000.
Wu said there are a ton of options for students or others who have had to move, like changing addresses online, through the mail or visiting an Orange County vote center and updating it in-person.