For many Saint Joe’s students, this is the first year they are eligible to vote in the presidential election. While this is a very exciting time, it is also very scary. Things are extremely divided in today’s political world and for a campus like Saint Joseph’s, which is located in an urban area but inhabited by a large group of suburban students, there are many who are not on the same page when it comes to their ideal presidential candidate. Although this divide on campus and the entire nation is very troubling, it hasn’t stopped young voters from making their voices heard. According to The 100 Million Project, “Most students -led by women and Democrats- say they are ‘absolutely certain’ they will vote this year”. While it’s great that voter turnout is predicted to be strong this election year, many of those voters are questioning the soundness of the election process. The 100 Million Project also found that “Nearly half (49%) say it won’t be fair and open, and a majority (55%) say it will not be administered well.” This is because many fear long lines at polling locations, broken voting machines as well as foreign interference. Additionally, there are voters who are worried that the election winner will lose the popular vote or there will be low voter turnout. Another factor that has become more prevalent this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak is an increase in mail-in votes. This is another factor that those participating in election day are sceptical about. With all of this uncertainty, first-time voters in college may be left feeling lost.
At Saint Joe’s, the university is offering programs throughout the week in order to assist students and make this time easier to manage. For example, transportation to local polling locations will be offered on Election Day as well as a quiet personal prayer and a group prayer service at the Chapel. On Wednesday November 4, there will be a “Stress Awareness Day Programming”, Campus Ministry Office Hours, and Post-Election Examen Prayer. Additionally, there will be Post-Election Teach-Ins throughout the month of November where students have the opportunity to discuss timely issues and what can be done in order to remain involved in the political process beyond Election Day.
With the Associated Press naming Joe Biden as President-Elect on Saturday, November 7th, many are overjoyed by the results. Others, however, are uneasy about the media naming the winner and are questioning the legitimacy of the outcome. It will certainly be interesting to see how the coming months play out and how the student body at Saint Joe’s reacts to the new presidency.