The University of Scranton recognizes the importance and duty that we each have to ourselves and our nation to participate in the civic process of voting for our elected officials. As we prepare for the upcoming 2020 election, the Office of Community Relations, in partnership with The University of Scranton Student Government, has compiled a list of voter resources to help guide students as they prepare to engage in their civic duty to make their voices heard in the election.
Students are encouraged to register to vote as soon as possible and to visit these resources to learn more about how and where they can register to vote, how to vote by mail, and the platforms of the candidates up for election. Additionally, students can find opportunities listed to further serve their county and communities as poll workers or volunteers. Students with questions on this guide can reach out to The University of Scranton Student Government or contact the Office of Community Relations at email@example.com.
"People in every nation enhance the social dimension of their lives by acting as committed and responsible citizens." - Pope Francis
Registering to Vote
The first step to voting is making sure that you are registered to vote and that your voter registration is up to date. The voter registration process is simple. If you have any questions, we are here to help!Am I Registered to Vote?
How to Vote
Now that you're registered to vote, the next step is to creating your voting plan. This year having a voting plan is especially important due to the complications from the coronavirus. A good way to create your voting plan is to think about where you will vote, how you plan to vote there - in person or by mail, and when you can vote.Find Your State & Local Elections Office
If you've already requested your mail in ballot, it's a good idea to complete your ballot and mail it in as soon as possible. If you find the deadline for submitting your ballot is coming up soon, you may want to consider dropping your ballot off at a designated ballot drop off location. If you plan to vote in person, consider how you will get to your polling location and what you need to once you get there, such as a mask or supplies if you believe you will need to wait in line for a long time to cast your ballot or an ID if it is your first time voting at polling location. PA voters can see accepted ID for voting here.Registration and Voting Deadlines
You can also learn more about how to get others involved in our political process to help increase participation in our political process along. When We All Vote, a nonpartisan effort launched in 2018 by co-chairs Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, aims to change the culture around voting using a data-driven and multifaceted approach to increase participation in elections and provides information to help make voters aware of their voting rights. Democracy for All is another nonpartisan organization that seeks to connect and involve all people and communities, especially those traditionally underrepresented, in the democratic process.
Before you cast your ballot, it is important that you first reflect on your own values to consider what issues and platforms are most important to you as you seek the right candidate. The next step is to learn more about the candidates running for office. You can consider
- Stance on important issues and policies
- History of civil service and past legislation supported
- Moral character and personal history
In the end, it is important to identify a candidate that represents who you are, what you care about, and how you want policy issues to address during the candidate's term. Remember, your elected officials speak on your behalf, so it is vital that you select a candidate that you would trust to do this important job.
To prepare yourself to choose a candidate it can be helpful to understand the terms and definitions used in our political process. You can empower yourself to make the best choice by understanding what these words mean.Common Voting Terms and Definitions
Many people often refrain from voting because they do not know about the candidates and are afraid to select someone that does not truly represent them in government. As a citizen it is your duty to learn about who is running for office and to prepare yourself to make the best choice before heading to the ballot box.
Depending on where you are voting, when you receive your ballot you may also find that you can cast your vote on a referendum. Just as with candidates, it is important to know what referendums are up for a vote in advance of the election.Find An Explanation of Candidates and Referendums
Become a Poll Worker
Poll workers perform an essential function in our democracy. Currently, there is a decrease in poll workers and many current poll workers are senior citizens and therefore at greater risk due to the coronavirus. You can learn more about becoming a poll worker, and potentially get paid for your service.
Ignatian Spirituality and Voting
"We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern." - Pope Francis, 9/16/13
As members of a Jesuit and Catholic institution, we consider our faith and ask for God's guidance in making important decisions. Our values and our faith inform our choices and our actions. We understand the importance of reflection and discernment as we consider the candidates and issues. We also believe that voting is a responsibility that we all share that contributes to the common good for all people.
Ignatian Solidarity Network Resources
The Ignatian Solidarity Network offers a series of voting guides on important issues and additional voting resources along with a new Voting Is an Act of Love campaign. Additionally, the Ignatian Solidarity Network offers a short asynchronous training, Braver Angels Training, that offers insights on how to discuss issues with individuals who differ from you politically.
Contemplation and Political Action: An Ignatian Guide to Civic Engagement
The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States reflects on our Gospel call to promote the common good in the public square and have created an Ignatian Guide to Civic Engagement. This guide applies the tradition of Ignatian spirituality to our shared political life through contemplation and reflection as a call to political action so that we may be "men and women for others."
Catholic Bishops of the United States Resources
Guide and teaching document on the political responsibilities of Catholics by offered by the Catholic bishops of the United States.Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (en Español)
Nonpartisan Political Dialogue
This Constitution Day, students from varied political perspectives and backgrounds are invited to engage and encounter each other's experiences and views - not debate or persuade - through structured dialogue to build understanding and seek areas of common ground. The structured dialogue session will be held virtually on Zoom from 6:00-7:15 p.m. on September 17. Registration required. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.