Make your vote count in the presidential elections Wednesday, Oct 28 2020 

By Catherine Brown–

Presidential elections are less than one month away. Get out and vote like your future depends on it—because it does.

This election cycle has been called “the most important election of our lifetimes” by various politicians including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

The importance of this election comes from the political polarization in this country. Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, voters seem to fall primarily along two party lines–either Democrat or Republican. Of course, many Americans still fall within a third party. But we’re taught to see our political party as right, and all others as wrong. 

That’s why it can be frustrating to not see a candidate whom you feel aligns with your views. In this election, we see the conservative Republican incumbent versus the liberal Democratic former vice president. Both have the political experience necessary to take on the role as president for the next four years. But many voters were dependent on the presidential debates to determine where they would cast their vote. 

And the first presidential debate certainly didn’t hit swing voters with as much impact as we would hope.

“Focus groups and polling suggest that the first presidential debate did little to convince swing voters to vote for one candidate over the other,” said Jennifer Anderson, a political science professor at U of L specializing in campaigns and elections.

In fact, it seems like the first debate might’ve had the opposite effect.

“Some focus group evidence from the NY Times, NPR and others suggest the debate pushed some undecided voters more toward opting out of voting rather than voting for one candidate over the other,” Anderson said.

But sooner or later, voters need to make a choice.

Anderson analyzed the overall effectiveness of the two campaigns, as well as ways in which each candidate could improve.


Trump

Trump continues to do well with his base. His nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is sitting well with most Republicans, and the nomination serves as a reminder to Republicans that there are lasting implications for voting for a president of one’s own party, even for those who aren’t Trump fans,” Anderson said.

She said his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak is a low point in his campaign. It certainly doesn’t help Trump having such a massive global pandemic so close to Election Day. 

Anderson also said Trump is inconsistent with the messaging in his campaign.

Ian McCall, a sophomore, plans to vote for Trump.

“I’m voting for Trump because this election is more than just a battle of policy. Our country is more divided than it has ever been. This election has become a battle of culture, and I as many conservatives feel that all our institutions and our very way of life is under threat,” McCall said.

“Biden will take the country in a direction that seems decidedly un-American to me. My concern is doing what is best for the people in my life and that, to me, is voting for Trump,” he said. “I understand some feel that voting for Biden is what is best for the country and in truth I don’t believe there is an objectively right or wrong way to run the country.”

 

Biden

Anderson said that analysts predicted that Biden would make “costly gaffes in his campaign,” but that he has largely avoided mistakes. She said Biden could improve through changing the “finding a way to change the narrative around his older age and perceived frailty.”

Joe Biden has been criticized by Trump and his supporters for his slurred speech and forgetfulness, so much so, that Trump has given Biden the nickname “Sleepy Joe.” 

Lorenzo Rowan, a sophomore, will be voting for Biden.

“I believe that Biden is the easier candidate to bully into making substantive changes for POC and LGBTQ with nationwide intersectional protests against his administration,” Rowan said.

Another reason Rowan said he’s voting for Biden is because of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his climate change policies.

“Over 200k Americans are dead from COVID-19 because of Trump’s ineptitude, stupidity and narcissism. Trump’s lack of belief in the existence of human-caused climate changed had cost us precious time to address that existential crisis. Biden has proposed a $2 trillion dollar plan to help with climate change.”


This year, Election Day looks a little different for much of America. While in person polling places will still be around, our democracy is also relying on mail-in votes being cast.

Unfortunately, voting fraud is already happening.

Unauthorized ballot boxes were set up by the California Republican Party to count unofficial votes in the state. This is an act of voter suppression, intended to take away the voice and democratic power of those who might threaten the chances of certain candidates being elected. It is also against state law.

Other polling locations are facing long lines with several hours of waiting just to receive a ballot.

Don’t let this be a deterrent in exercising the right to vote. Despite concerns around fraudulent behavior in regards to mail-in voting, voter fraud is actually rare.

In this pandemic, millions of Americans are given the opportunity to avoid possibly catching or spreading COVID-19. By mail-in voting, you can show that you value both voting and being safe around others. Even if you decide to vote in person, you’ll have your vote counted and it will impact our country’s future.

Louisville voters can access one of many drop-box locations around the city. 

Everybody that is eligible to vote needs to get out and do their part for our democracy.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Students: What you need to know about voting in the 2020 election Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 

By Katie Volpentesta —

The 2020 Presidential election is just six weeks away, so it’s important to be educated on voting options as well as candidates and policies down the ballot.

While the COVID-19 pandemic complicates in-person voting options, the Jefferson County Board of Elections is doing everything they can to keep Jefferson County residents informed of their options, including registering to vote, requesting and sending in a mail-in ballot, and voting in person both early or on Election Day.

“In a normal election we have about 232 locations within 623 precincts, and now with coronavirus, a lot of things have changed,” said Jordan Kelch, public relations administrator at the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office. Typically, early or mail-in voting is only allowed if a voter meets one of ten special criteria that prevent you from being able to vote on Election Day.

Instead of smaller polling locations throughout the county, the board has created four election super centers that will allow for social distanced voting in large, open areas. Early voting will take place at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the YUM! Center, the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, and a fourth location in the east end that is yet to be announced.

Early in-person voting is from Oct. 13 to Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and voting on Election Day, Nov. 3, will be at the same locations from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In order to vote either in person or via mail-in absentee ballot, residents of Jefferson County must be registered to vote. Luckily, this process is available and easily accessible online. The last day to register to vote in Kentucky is Oct. 5 at 4 p.m.

Additionally, the deadline to order a mail-in ballot in Kentucky is Oct. 9 by 11:59 p.m. These resources, as well as information on polling places, candidates and issues on your ballot, are available on the Jefferson County Clerk’s elections site.

“There’s 1,200 ballot styles for this election. Jefferson County is really large, so there’s lots of different areas with small city races,” Kelch said. “It all comes down to your legislative district and the neighborhood you live in.” The Jefferson County Clerk’s site can show you your exact ballot.

U of L’s Vote Everywhere initiative looks to keep students informed about voting options, deadlines and ways to stay informed as well. They want to ensure that students know the power of their vote and what it means to be informed.

“There’s so many deadlines and it gets really confusing, even for a student like me who is super civically engaged,” said Vote Everywhere Ambassador Wyn Garfinkle-Plymesser.

By hosting events on campus and frequently updating their Instagram page, @UofLVE, Garfinkle-Plymesser and her co-ambassador Arianna Moya engage with students and promote civic engagement within the U of L community.

“We just want to be a space where people can come and get the answers straight up and know what’s really going on,” said Garfinkle-Plymesser. “If they have any concerns about voting or their vote being suppressed, we wanna be the space that students can come to and have their concerns heard and questions answered.”

While Jefferson County is doing their best to make this election as accessible and safe as possible, Kelch recommends that residents vote early if possible and don’t procrastinate sending in a mail-in ballot.

“If you’re done and you’ve signed it completely, both the goldenrod envelope and exterior envelope, and you’ve followed all the directions and are ready to turn it in, please do so immediately,” Kelch said. “Election Day will obviously be very busy.”

For further information regarding the upcoming general election in Jefferson County, please go to elections.jeffersoncountyclerk.org.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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