November 4, 2020 by Elaney Tedder
The 2020 Election in the United States began on the traditional first Tuesday of November, November 3rd, but many U.S. Citizens began voting weeks or months before this date. Because of COVID-19, early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee voting occurred at higher numbers than previously recorded due to safety concerns. Although millions of Americans cast their vote before Election Day, a large amount of people also went to the polls yesterday morning to cast their vote for the future of the United States. The 2020 Election has been particularly contentious due to issues revolving around the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, race & justice, and many other issues. While we wait on the decision about who will continue leading the United States, ELP Staff were asked to share their voting plan for this election. Here are some of their responses:
Stephanie Ackerman, Enrollment Coordinator: “This will be my first time voting in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, actually!) and I am very excited to perform my civic duty in a swing state. I plan to vote in person on November 3rd.”
Lori Chinitz, Language Specialist: “I submitted my mail ballot to a satellite election office on Monday [October 5th, 2020]. It was a great feeling to have voted early. I signed up to be a poll worker but have not heard back. The good news is that they have been flooded with applications, so there will be more polling locations open than there were for the primary. On Election Day, I will be glued to my laptop in the evening and into the night.”
Ula Cutten, Instructional Technology Specialist: “I filled out my mail-in ballot over the weekend and triple-checked everything before enclosing it in the inner envelope and putting that in the outer envelope, signing, dating, and filling in the other info there. Then, I went to one of the satellite early voting stations and submitted my ballot yesterday after work. I voted!”
Eve Nora Litt, Language Specialist: “I dropped off my mail-in ballot at Tilden Middle School in West Philadelphia. I rode my bike over on a beautiful Saturday morning, and even scored a free sweatshirt just for voting! I shared my sticker with my dogs who are always jealous that they can’t participate in this civic duty. I plan to spend election night watching the returns come in state by state. We’re going to order pizza (I wonder if election nights are busy for take-out places) and try and be as patient as possible since it’s unknown when all of the results will be available. With so many states embracing a variety of voting methods (early, absentee, mail in, standard), it’s hard to know when everything will be tallied. It may be a bit of an anxious evening, so self-care in the form of good food and even better company will be necessary.”
Ian Nichols, Advising Specialist: “My wife and I requested mail-in ballots on August 15. They arrived a few days ago, and we finally filled them out on Sunday night (October 4). We knew which candidates we'd be voting for, both from our party affiliation and because we'd seen them in the primary earlier this year. There are some ballot questions for the city, though, and we weren't sure how to vote. For example, we could say whether it's okay for the city to borrow over $100 million for projects. I'm always suspicious that the description doesn't match the reality for these questions. So we did some research online to choose our best answers for these questions.
Yesterday (October 6) we took a walk around our neighborhood and dropped our ballots into a mailbox. Now we'll wait to get confirmation from the city that our ballots have been received. Like a lot of people, I'm starting to feel anxious about how the votes will be counted. I want to make sure that my vote is valid -- no mistakes -- and it doesn't take too long to get a result.
But now all we can do is wait! On election day, I don't know what we'll do. Probably, we'll just try to relax and keep calm.”
Lisa Taglang, University Connection Programs Manager: “I requested a mail-in ballot and as soon as I get it I will fill it out and deliver it to my local drop-box. I am also spending every weekend and many evenings between now and the election calling and mailing postcards to registered voters in PA who have not voted consistently in recent years to make sure they have a plan to vote. I will take PTO on election day to volunteer at my local polling place.”
Thank you to the ELP staff members who shared their 2020 Election plans for this story, and thank you to the University of Pennsylvania for allowing staff members to take time away to vote or to work the polling places to ensure that each person’s vote can be counted. Finally, thank you to Eve Nora Litt for contributing this great idea of doing a story about voting plans. We hope that all eligible voters took the time either yesterday or before to cast their vote in this important election.