2020 thus far has already been loaded with issues concerning a global pandemic and an ongoing racial justice movement calling for systemic reform.
Heading into the election season, the current political climate heightened by divided political officials who have increased uncertainty around voter security and a peaceful transfer of presidential power has left the 2020 presidential election one of the most compelling — and contentious — elections in modern American politics.
Here is what students need to know before submitting their vote for the presidential and general elections.
Arizonans who want to vote by mail can either sign up for the early voting list or request a one-time mail-in ballot before Oct. 23, or they can vote in person on Election Day, which is Nov. 3.
What are the ways to vote?
In Maricopa County, voters have the option to vote by mail, including dropping off their ballots at a dropbox or in-person, either early or on Election Day. Ballots must be received by a polling location by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Where can you vote?
Kajol Kapadia, Undergraduate Student Government Tempe vice president of policy and a senior studying economics, said ASU's polling places are in the same locations as the Arizona primary in August.
"On all four campuses, voting should be accessible in terms of an actual physical polling location," Kapadia said.
READ MORE: Here's where you can vote on ASU's campuses
Ayesha Ahsan, the chair of the Civic Engagement Coalition and a senior studying economics and sociology, said each of ASU's polling locations are vote centers not only for students, but for the general public.
The Maricopa County website explains that residents are now able to vote at any polling location in the county, with the Maricopa County Elections Department even adding contactless, drive-through drop boxes at sports stadiums.
On the Tempe campus, the Sun Devil Fitness Complex will be used for in-person voting and ballot drop-offs. The maroon gym will be used for early voting, and the gold gym will be open for Election Day.
On the West campus, students will be able to vote or drop-off ballots in the Verde Dining Pavilion multipurpose room.
Both of these on-campus locations will be open starting Oct. 22.
Additionally, the Polytechnic campus will open the Cooley Ballrooms on Oct. 28 as a drop-off and voting location.
The Downtown Phoenix campus will not have an on-campus polling place, but students are able to vote downtown at the Burton Barr Library. The library is open for in-person voting and as a ballot drop-off starting Oct. 28.
For those planning to drop off ballots, Ahsan said there will be a separate line to allow students to bypass long in-person polling lines on Election Day.
"You just walk up, drop it off, get your sticker and you can head out right away," Ahsan said.
What do you bring to vote?
According to the Secretary of State's Office, a voter will give their name and place of residence and present a valid form of identification to an election official at the polls.
The requirement for a valid form of ID can be met by either a photo ID that includes the voter's name and address, or two forms of ID that verify one's name and address but do not include a photo.
ASU IDs are not an accepted form of identification.
"ASU IDs don't have an address or anything on them, so they don't really have a way to validate your identity," Ahsan said.
A valid Arizona driver's license is a commonly used form of ID, and other options may be found on the Secretary of State website.
What has changed due to COVID-19?
The Maricopa County Elections Department created an Election Day and Emergency Voting Plan to secure a safe election season following guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
These safety protocols include providing six feet of space between check-in stations and voting booths, along with setting up signs and markers to ensure the distance is maintained while voters wait in line.
The plan states that while voters are not required to wear masks when voting in-person, it is encouraged, and polling locations will provide masks and disposable latex gloves for the check-in and voting process.
Poll workers will be required to wear masks and gloves and will be provided with face shields, which they are encouraged to wear while voters are present at voting locations.
High touch surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected every 30 minutes. If a voter chooses not to wear a mask or gloves, the area will be disinfected immediately after the voter leaves.
How do you know your mail-in ballot is secure?
During the election season, presidential candidate and incumbent Donald Trump has continuously equivocated mail-in voting with voter fraud, and painted the method as an insecure and unreliable way to vote during the 2020 election.
Trump's claims have sparked uncertainty within voters across the country, but Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes has said there are many safety measures in place to make sure votes casted by mail are secure.
"We have got citizens watching each other and maintaining integrity in the system all the time," Fontes said in an interview with ABC 15 Arizona. "Those are just citizens like you or me."
Voters who submit their ballot by mail can track their ballot by going to the Arizona Voter Information Portal and selecting the option to check the status of their mail-in ballot. Voters will be asked to provide their county, last name, date of birth, the form of ID they used to vote and their ID's identification number.
Additionally, voters can subscribe to automatic text updates from the county about the status of their ballot.
Voters also have the option to drop off the ballots that were mailed to them, as explained above, if they do not feel comfortable mailing them back.
What if you don't have time in between class to vote in person?
Ahsan said the Associated Students of ASU are encouraging professors to give students Election Day off to allow them the time to stay in potentially long polling lines.
Although Election Day is not a University holiday, Ahsan encourages students to request a mail-in ballot or sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List before Oct. 23, in case they are unable to vote in-person.
"I understand wanting to go on Election Day and feeling the energy," Ahsan said. "But I'm really encouraging (mail-in voting) because one, it'll keep people safe, and two, you can sit down and actually research who's going to be on the ballot."
Morgan Fischer is the politics editor, she works with her desk to cover topics related to politics in the ASU community. She has previously worked as an intern for RightThisMinute.