Election Reactions

On Nov. 3, Election Day, Americans across the United States voted for either current President Donald Trump and his current Vice President Mike Pence or Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris. 

Voter participation in the election four years ago was a prominent issue in the press. 

In the 2016 election, 62 percent of all participating voters were above the age of 45. Ages that ranged from 18 to 45 years old made up 38 percent of the votes. 

This inspired the inception of PioneerVote at Sacred Heart University. 

According to the university website, “PioneerVote is a student-led campaign to help raise awareness of political issues occurring at the local, state and federal level.”

On Election Day, to encourage students to vote and keep them updated, PioneerVote sent out an email with a summary of each candidate’s policies. It showed the views of Trump and Biden on economics, a COVID-19 response, healthcare, and immigration policies. 

The goal of PioneerVote is not to sway students toward one political party or the other, but rather to educate students on parties and policies as a whole.

PioneerVote encourages students who may not be registered to vote to become registered and aims to educate students on current issues so they can become more involved in the political realm.

For Election Day this year, COVID-19 made it difficult for voters to go out and vote.  In hopes to promote voter turnout, PioneerVote sponsored shuttle trips to local polling locations for Sacred Heart students to utilize.

“Voter participation among college students is very important,” said 2020 graduate Shreya Patel. “Sacred Heart providing shuttles to polls is something every college should do for their students.”

Due to COVID-19, many students voted with mail-in ballots or in their hometown.

“Either students voted by absentee ballot, went home to states that offered early day voting, or voted in Connecticut or in their hometowns on Nov. 3,” said senior Carlos Ruiz from PioneerVote.

At the polls, COVID-19 protocols were followed. Students brought masks and kept the recommended distance of 6 feet away from each other in line. 

PioneerVote recorded the voter turnout statistics of Division I athletes.

Seven of the Division I teams had over 100 student athletes vote. Two of those teams reached 96 percent and the other 21 teams reached 75 percent voter turnout. 

In total, the student-athletes cast between 750 and 1,000 votes alone within their program. 

“I didn’t vote through the PioneerVote event,” said freshman Kiera Farley. “I went to my hometown in Connecticut. But the idea behind the event is what matters, not just the students who casted absentee ballots or went to their home.”

Although many students voted via absentee ballot, there was still a large turnout at the polls.

“I voted in person and I’m happy that I was able to go to the polls,” said Ruiz. “Being able to go to the polls is part of the experience, though due to COVID-19 concerns, voting by absentee ballot is completely understandable.”

The main purpose of PioneerVote is to make sure students vote and stay politically active, whether that is through voting at home, through the organization’s voting event or by mail-in ballot.

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