November is here, and with it comes pumpkin spice season, Thanksgiving, and most importantly, election time. Although all elections have consequences, the upcoming 2020 election may arguably be one of the most important ones in U.S. history. 

In the past year alone, Americans have experienced the trauma that has come from the COVID-19 pandemic, witnessed record-setting wildfires, and participated in an international movement against systemic racism. This year has brought monumental changes, but for these issues to remain on the table, Americans have to vote for officials who share their concerns.

Junior Ian Krager, Student Chair of UR’s Committee for Political Engagement (CPE), shared some important tips for UR students who are planning to get involved in the upcoming election. Krager advises UR students who have not yet registered to vote or requested their absentee ballot to visit, which allows you to also sign up for election updates. Those who are planning to vote via absentee ballot can either mail their ballot themselves, or return it to Wilson Commons 201, Common Connections, to have their ballot mailed out for them. Students who are registered to vote in Rochester can either drop off their ballots at the Saunders Research Building (part of URMC) on Election Day or vote early by taking a free shuttle down to the Marketplace Mall. 

Several students at UR also spoke up regarding the importance of voting this year. 

Although first-year Allison Lee is not a fan of either major candidate, she said she will be voting for Biden because he “aligns most with [her] views on both human rights and climate change issues.” 

Lee pointed to President Trump’s continued questioning of climate science in his first term, and encouraged voters to set their political differences aside and “vote for Biden, since there will be irreversible changes to the climate that will degrade the quality of life for generations if Trump is reelected to office.” 

Hannah Gordon, a first-year from Pennsylvania, planned on following the footsteps of her grandma, who was a “proud member of the League of Women Voters and has never missed a single election.” Gordon expressed that while it’s important to vote in any election, it is “crucial for young people to vote in this specific election since the direction of public policy affects us most. From student loan relief, access to reproductive rights, and environmental protection, there is a lot at stake for young adults.” 

While Gordon supported Warren in the primary, she said she was still happy to vote for Biden in the general election. “A vote for him would be a vote for the preservation of true American democracy and values,” Gordon said. 

As someone who comes from a swing state, she said that she will be casting her vote in her home state instead of New York, and encourages anyone else coming from a swing state to do the same.

For first-year Noah Hathaway, a Rochester native, the election is no longer about “Democrats vs. Republicans, or liberal vs. conservative.” It’s about “right vs. wrong.” 

Hathaway said he will be choosing  Biden so the nation can finally come together instead of being “consumed with divisive and hateful rhetoric like it has been for the past four years.” 

He hoped that voters will understand this election is about “protecting the environment, the health of the American people, building up the economy, and upholding the rights of those who feel vulnerable in the country.” 

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