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 quickly approaching 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.
Ensure you are ready to vote: check your voter registration, make a voting plan, and make your voice heard this Election Day by casting your ballot. The resources in this guide offer an Election Day Voter Resource Guide, Voting Information, Information on Election Related Events, and Resources on the Election Process. 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.
If you have any issues voting on Election Day, know that help and support is available. You can call 866-OUR-VOTE if you experience any problems voting. Remember that if you are registered to vote and at your registered polling location, then you have a right to vote on Election Day. If you did not receive your mail-in ballot, then you have the right to request a provisional ballot at your polling location. If you did receive you mail-in ballot and did not yet mail it back, then it is recommended that you drop off your ballot as soon as possible, but no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day at your county elections office. You may also surrender your mail-in ballot at your polling location and vote in person instead if necessary. Pennsylvania voters can find more information about where they can vote in person or where drop boxes are located here.
If you have voting questions and don't know what to do we're here to support you! University of Scranton students can email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 570-941-4419 with any voting questions.
"People in every nation enhance the social dimension of their lives by acting as committed and responsible citizens." - Pope Francis
Verify Your Voter Registration
Before you head to the polls on Election Day, be sure to verify your voter registration is up to date. Remember, you must vote where you are registered to vote. The voter registration verification 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 and how you plan to vote. If you have requested a mail-in ballot but did not yet mail it, it is highly recommended that you drop your ballot off in person at your county elections office. If you are dropping off your mail-in ballot at your county elections office you must do so by 8 p.m. on Election Day.Find Your State & Local Elections Office
Be Election Day Ready
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.Voting Deadlines
If you've already cast your ballot remember that you can track your ballot status to confirm that your ballot was received and counted. To track the status of your ballot visit your official state voting website.
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.
Voting Q&A Drop-In
University of Scranton students with voting questions are invited to join a Zoom drop-in on Monday, November 2 from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. hosted by the Office of Community and Government Relations. Joining information can be found on Royal Sync or by emailing email@example.com. In addition to this session, University students with voting questions can reach out directly to the Office of Community and Government Relations by calling 570-941-4419 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Examen for Civic Life
As we prepare as a University community for the election, the Office of Campus Ministries invites you to pray reflectively together. Using the Examen, a prayer exercise rooted in the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, we will together pray to discern and reflect in specific ways about the interrelationship between Gospel values and political engagement. Students, administrators, faculty, and staff will lead this video prayer experience on Monday, November 2, premiering at 7 p.m. on The University of Scranton YouTube channel. You can view the Examen for Civic Life here.
Election 2020: Analysis and Q&A with the Political Science Department
University of Scranton students are invited to join on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. for a special presentation featuring Political Science Department Faculty panelists Dr. Mike Allison, Dr. Jean Harris, and Dr. JoyAnna Hopper with moderator, Julie Schumacher Cohen, AVP for Community Engagement & Government Affairs. This session will provide University of Scranton students an overview the day after Election Day: what’s happened so far and what can we expect next? Using a political science lens, faculty will discuss the state of play of the American democratic process. This is an interactive event where students will be invited to ask questions and engage in discussion. University of Scranton students can find joining information on Royal Sync or by emailing email@example.com.
Resources on the Election Process
This year's election will perhaps be the most unique elections in our lifetimes. The current climate of our country compounded with the coronavirus pandemic is a source of stress for the many Americans. As we work through the election process it is essential that we each find our own ways of keeping calm, showing support for the democratic process of elections, and working together to keep our community united. The APA offers advice on how to handle election stress. Additional resources can be found in this National Public Radio piece "Election Stress Getting To You? 4 Ways to Keep Calm."
It is important to remember that If There's No Election Night Winner, Don't Panic. As this NPR story on the Election process points out, as a matter of fact, official election results have never been completely tabulated and certified by the night of the election. What we see on Election Night are projections made by media outlets. Hundreds of thousands of votes are counted after every Election Day. In some races where one candidate has an overwhelming lead media outlets can make the call before we have the final tally of these votes because in these races the outstanding ballots will not alter the outcome of the election. That is not the case with closer races that require all ballots to be counted before a winner is officially certified by election officials.
Although the waiting may be stressful, it is vital to our democracy that we honor every person's vote by allowing it to be counted. We can gain perspective on our own situation by harkening to those who have gone through similarly stressful elections such as Joseph Jimmy Sankaituah in his piece "I survived Liberia's civil wars. Here's my advice to American voters Opinion by Joseph Jimmy Sankaituah." We can also look to the founder of the Jesuit order, St. Ignatius Loyola, and the Spiritual Exercises for Jesuit Tools To Help You Survive The Election (And Its Aftermath).
Here our own Scranton community, the Scranton Area Ministerium, a gathering of clergy and religious leaders from across faiths, have come together to issue a message calling our community to solidarity and trust in the electoral process that encourages all people to patiently respect this process so that every vote can be counted. You can view the Scranton Area Ministerium message here.
Our partners at the Ignatian Solidarity Network have joined with 1,100 faith and community leaders representing communities in all 50 states to issue a joint call for federal, state, and local public officials to do everything in their power to guarantee that Americans are able to cast votes free of fear and intimidation and that every vote cast in the 2020 elections will be counted. You can view the Ignatian Solidarity Network news story here.
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
This Constitution Day, students from varied political perspectives and backgrounds joined together 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. This structured dialogue session was held virtually on Zoom from 6:00-7:15 p.m. on September 17.
Creating an open dialogue across difference can be challenging, but with an open mind and genuine listening it is possible to come together despite our differences. The University's Political Dialogues Initiative has developed a method for engaging in open conversation across difference using the principles of Ignatian Spirituality and structured dialogue methods of national non-profit Essential Partners.
"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)