Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and the Washington University in St. Louis Athletic Complex is ready to welcome students, faculty and staff who are registered to vote in St. Louis County.
Polls open at 6 a.m Tuesday and will remain open until all voters in line by 7 p.m. have voted. Daily self-screening and face masks will be required.
Theresa Kouo, assistant director for civic engagement education at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, encourages voters to make a plan for Election Day and to research candidates and ballot issues in advance.
“There is a lot of student enthusiasm this election, but there is much more on the ballot than the presidential race,” Kouo said.
To ensure physical distancing, the university will limit the number of voters in the Athletic Complex. Once the building reaches capacity, voters may join a digital line by scanning a QR code. They will receive a text when they are to return to the physical line at the Athletic Complex.
The Gephardt Institute will celebrate Election Day outside of the Athletic Complex with snacks and entertainment for voters. However, there will be no election night watch party as in past years. That’s because it’s possible, indeed likely, that election results will not be confirmed on election night.
“Because of the incredible interest in this election and the COVID-19 pandemic, election officials will be working hard to make sure every mail-in and absentee ballot is counted,” said Stephanie Kurtzman, the Peter G. Sortino Director of the Gephardt Institute. “We must give election officials the time to do what they have been trained to do.”
The university also will host several post-election programs and services for students, faculty and staff. Events include:
- a post-election deliberative dialogue for students, hosted by the Gephardt Institute;
- “What Does it Mean to Be Here, Now?” discussions for staff and faculty, hosted by The Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion;
- affinity group gathering spaces hosted by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion;
- “Let’s Talk” mental health consultations for students hosted by Mental Health Services; and
- “Election Reflection: Lessons from the 2020 Election Experience” panel for students, staff and faculty hosted by the Gephardt Institute.
For a complete list of programs, visit the Gephardt Institute site.
“Election Day is a vital part of our democracy, but we need to remind ourselves that civic engagement is vital every day of the year,” Kurtzman said. “As a Washington University community, we will continue learning, discussing and taking action on our ideals. Despite the stressors and political tensions exacerbated by this election cycle on top of the pandemic, I truly hope we will continue to support one another even when our ideals and perspectives differ. I’m going to be re-reading Chancellor Martin’s Guiding Principles for This Election Season, and encourage everyone to do the same.”