Every November, we have not only the privilege, but also the right, to actively participate in the governance of our republic by voting. Educating ourselves on the relevant issues and then casting a ballot is central to our shared responsibility as citizen-leaders.
Emotions often run high as elections approach, and this year we have increased stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Election stress” has been reported in the media for weeks now, with many sources saying up to 70% of Americans are experiencing some degree of anxiety and concern around the upcoming election, regardless of preferred candidates. If you are feeling similarly, several resources are available at the University. They are summarized in this one-pager on Managing Election Stress.
Many of you may have already voted, while others may be joining me at a polling station on Election Day. Your visit to the polls is an exciting opportunity to engage in a civic duty, especially for those who have only recently come of voting age. When you visit your assigned polling station, you may see volunteers for candidates holding signs or passing out flyers at a required distance from the actual polls. You may choose – or not choose – to engage with them. However, voter intimidation – using threats or coercion to interfere with your right to vote – is a federal crime, and you should promptly report anything rising to that level to law enforcement or a polling station volunteer.
In her note below, Hannah Koizumi, chair of Student Council’s Legislative Affairs Committee, offers more details about voting on Election Day, including the chance to sign up for free transportation to the Buford and Johnson polling locations where many students who live along Jefferson Park Avenue go to vote.
I know many of you have taken advantage of early voting this year, either in person or by mail. Whatever your chosen method, thank you for your active participation in this important aspect of civic life.
Allen W. Groves
University Dean of Students
To the Student Body:
Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you are registered to vote in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area, you will vote at the polling location based on the precinct in which you live. Below is some important information to keep in mind as you make your plan to vote.
Polling Locations: Open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. across the state. You must be in line at the correct polling location by 7 p.m. in order to vote. You must vote in the precinct in which you are registered. UVA students vote at various polling locations in Charlottesville or Albemarle County, so please check your Virginia Voter Record to verify your polling location here.
Acceptable Form of ID: You must show one form of an acceptable ID when you vote in person. This can be your UVA student ID, but many other forms of identification are accepted. You can find a list at Voting on Election Day. Voters without an acceptable ID may sign an ID Confirmation Statement. Any voter who does not present acceptable identification and does not sign this statement must vote a provisional ballot.*
Free Transportation to Buford and Johnson: There will be free van rides to the Buford Middle School and Johnson Elementary precincts from outside of Thornton Hall from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Election Day. Please wear a mask; seating will physically distanced. You can reserve a spot at this link.
Absentee ballots can be returned to dropboxes at designated locations until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Please return your ballot to the dropbox in the locality in which you are registered. For more information, please see the Virginia Board of Elections web page on Casting a Ballot.
For Students in Quarantine or Isolation Dorms: You may request to vote emergency absentee at any time prior to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2. Please contact the appropriate registrar’s office using the numbers below. Students must arrange for receiving the ballot and having it witnessed in a manner that does not compromise their quarantine or isolation.
Resources: If you have issues or questions on Election Day, the following resources are available to you:
- Virginia Department of Elections: 800-552-9745
- Charlottesville City Office of Voter Registration: 434-970-3250
- Albemarle County Office of Voter Registration: 434-972-4173
Please exercise your right to vote! The future of the Commonwealth depends on your political participation.
Chair, Legislative Affairs Committee