Election day. It’s finally here.
Amid increasing partisan tensions, during a pandemic, after four years of a contentious presidency, today is election day. While many University of Connecticut students have already voted among the 93 million early ballots cast, others will — or at least, should — be making their way to the Mansfield community center, fire station or their hometown polls to vote in-person instead.
Many young people find their political awakening in college. It may be the first time they can vote, or the first time their beliefs have been formally challenged. They may be enticed to a political outreach group that shapes or refines their views. Even just being around and speaking with other interested young people can motivate students to expand their political views and horizons.
As such, watch parties are custom during election season. Even with the pandemic restricting gatherings this year, this custom is set to continue at UConn. The Undergraduate Student Government is hosting a watch party at the Student Union tonight, and many dorms have their own events planned. However, it is important that we all, regardless of political affiliation, temper our expectations tonight.
In part because of the astronomical absentee voting, and in part because of complications due to COVID-19, we will likely not know the winner of the election tonight. We may not know tomorrow, or the next day, or even next week. Voter suppression is a huge concern this election, with long lines and ballots being mis- or undercounted. Even after all the votes have been counted, the Supreme Court is likely to vote on the validity of certain ballots in states like Pennsylvania.
As such, any celebration tonight is likely to be premature, from any side. The tension on campus and across the country has been mounting, and the election is at the front of everyone’s minds. As such, it hurts to hear that we can’t relieve this tension and start planning for the future just yet.
Being a large public university, UConn is also ripe to be a battleground of conflicting views toward the election, both from student and external movements. Certainly, this only raises the tension in many students’ eyes, knowing that our campus will be tense for a while longer.
It is important that we keep all this in mind going forward today and for the near future. We must all remain calm and steadfast in listening to the facts. We must wait and respect the election results, as delayed as they may be. And we must support each other as a campus community in these tense, stressful times; many will be left frustrated or fearful regardless of how today ends. The Daily Campus, for our part, is committed to reporting and updating our community on the facts and developments as this prolonged, tense viewing party continues. We encourage campus leaders and administrators to work diligently to maintain our culture and community, as well.
And finally, if you haven’t yet — VOTE!