Confusion abounds about COVID-19-related changes to voting, efforts to purge people from voter registries, and unusual delays in U.S. Postal Service delivery. It is more important than ever for people to be hyper-vigilant with their vote.
At the College of Communications at CSU Fullerton, faculty are advocating their commitment to a democratic society.
“This is an election of tremendous consequences. And I get it, you’re 18, you’re 19, you’re 20, you haven’t been through this,” said Garrett Hart, chair of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at CSU Fullerton. “Your perspective of the world is, ‘well, I guess this is kind of what happens. This is normal politics.’ It’s not. It’s truly not.”
Hart and fellow communications department leaders at CSU Fullerton offered suggestions to all college faculty ahead of Election Day on November 3:
- If you teach on Tuesday, November 3, rework the class to increase student learning about the importance of voting and encourage students to vote, no matter who they vote for.
- If you do not teach on Tuesdays, rework any single class that week to increase student learning about voting and encourage students to find time that week to mail in their ballot, or drop it off in person, by November 3.
- Encourage students and colleagues to help voters by:
- Volunteering to staff polling stations or voting centers
- Participating in Get Out the Vote ride services to transport voters to the polls
- Covering home care duties for a neighbor or friend so they can get to the polls
- All in accordance with local health and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The results for Fullerton faculty’s work, thus far, are showing. In the Secretary of State’s Ballot Bowl, CSU Fullerton currently leads every California college and university for the largest number of students registered to vote this election cycle. Sacramento State currently ranks third, San Francisco State is fourth, and CSU Long Beach rounds out the top five.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, the Ballot Bowl was “developed by the California Students Vote Project (CSVP), a project of the California Secretary of State in partnership with then California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and a coalition of nonprofit organizations in 2016.” It includes all of California’s major higher educational systems, including the California Community Colleges, California State University, University of California, and the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities systems.
“I think it’s up to people older than them, more experienced than them – certainly not wiser – to really hammer home that this is their responsibility,” Hart said. “They shouldn’t see it as an option. They should see it as a responsibility to live in a democracy, and I hope professors across the country are hammering this home with their students, especially first-time voters.”