UConn’s Political Engagement program hosted a live virtual panel to discuss any questions and concerns students have for the upcoming General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The panelists included Congressman Joe Courtney, U.S. Representative for Connecticut’s 2nd congressional district (photo below); Dr. Thomas Hayes, associate professor and director of graduate studies in political science at UConn (left); Albert Morales, senior political director of Latino Decisions (right); and Dr. Kelly M. Moore, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT) (middle). Photos provided by author.
With Election Day on Tuesday, voters understandably have questions about how this year’s election will go. In such unprecedented times with such important political races at stake, it can be challenging and even frustrating to carry on with such little knowledge of what is to come.
In efforts to alleviate public uncertainty, especially amongst student voters, UConn’s Political Engagement program hosted a live virtual panel to discuss any questions and concerns students have for the upcoming General Election on Nov. 3.
Panelists included: Congressman Joe Courtney, U.S. Representative for Connecticut’s 2nd congressional district, which includes Storrs; Dr. Thomas Hayes, associate professor and director of graduate studies in political science at UConn; Albert Morales, senior political director of Latino Decisions; and Dr. Kelly M. Moore, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT).
Perhaps one of the most widespread concerns looming over voters is the question of when we will find out the results of the election.
“Every state is different, especially handling mail-in ballots,” Hayes said. “I think we’ll know a lot on election night, but there’s still some key states that we’re going to have to wait for. This happens every year. It might not be at the presidential level, but it happens in a lot of elections.”
Panelists stated that while election results may be delayed because of the new measures taken amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing that should be our largest concern.
“It’s likely that we aren’t going to get results [on Election Night], that they are going to be rolling in,” Moore said. “And that’s okay, because that means that every vote is being counted. The critical thing is that we count every legally cast vote, and not that we have results by some artificial deadline.”
Under the electoral college system, it can be difficult to see the value in one’s individual vote. Even in congressional or state elections, voters, with students in particular, find difficulty judging whether their vote truly matters in our current democratic system.
Congressman Courtney knows very well that every vote matters, as he won his congressional seat by a margin of 83 votes back in 2006. College students represent a large constituency. When students turn out, they have a chance to alter the outcome of the election, as he believes UConn students played a large role in his victory in 2006.
“When young people turn out in big numbers, things change,” Courtney said. “When the turnout goes up, things change, and all the assumptions that pundits and political consultants have, get thrown out the window.
Panelists took time to remind all UConn students and faculty to vote in Tuesday’s General Election.
“If you have not registered, it is not too late,” Moore said. “We have Election Day registration in Connecticut. Anybody in line by 8:00 p.m. to register can register and vote that day. If you have not registered, you can still show up to the polls on Election Day.”
“If you are already registered to vote, just check that your registration is current,” Hayes said. “You can do that online. The secretary of state’s office is really the go-to source for information about voting and registry.”
The Political Engagement program also reminded students that plenty of resources are available to them to answer any other questions and concerns they may have about voting in this election and all future elections. Even a simple Google search of “UConn voting” would yield a long list of helpful resources, as this is a cause championed by many organizations around campus.