Voter engagement is about learning how to participate in upcoming elections through voter registration and turnout, but it also involves opportunities for students to become educated about key issues and races, as well as why civic participation through voting is so important. The Center for Civic Engagement & Social Impact works with a number of campus and community partners to provide comprehensive voter engagement programs and information to all WCU students, faculty and staff. Below, you will find many Frequently Asked Questions (and answers!), as well as useful resources to prepare you for the 2020 elections, and beyond!
Voting resources for the campus community:
- REGISTER TO VOTE
- Students are invited to be part of the "Power In Our Ballots: Students of Color" Initiative. Email Denice Velez in the Dowdy Multicultural Center for more info (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Want to keep track of all of the steps necessary for voting this fall? Create a Voting Plan to help prepare! We'll email you updates and reminders leading up to the election.
- Are you voting by mail? The deadline to apply for your ballot is Oct. 27th (but we recommend that you do it much earlier). You can mail your ballot to your county's voter services office, and CHESTER COUNTY voters can take ballots to various drop boxes located throughout the county. Find the map here.
- If you are voting by mail, make sure you pay very close attnetion to the instructions included in your envelope. We recommend checking out this video for more information.
Learn more about the candidates and issues:
- Who is on your ballot? PA voters can find out here.
- Looking for nonpartisan information about the U.S. Presidential candidates? Check out this guide from our partners at the Campus Election Engagement Project.
- Want help evaluating candidates? Check out this guide or take this online quiz to help you decide based on the issues.
- Check out the New York Times 2020 Presidential Election Calendar for important election dates and deadlines across the US.
- Seven Tips for First Time Voters
- The general elections will take place on Tuesday, November 3rd. These elections will include many local and state races, as well as the election for President of the United States.
- Learn about what’s on your ballot HERE.
- Be a United States Citizen for at least 30 days before the next election.
- In PA, you must be a resident of Pennsylvania and your election district for at least 30 days before the next election.
- Be at least 18 years of age the day of the next election. NOTE: You do not have to be 18 to register, as long as you will turn 18 by the election.
- You may only register to vote in one place.
- Visit http://vote.gov to register to vote.
- Register online, HERE.
- Check your voter registration status by using this voter registration lookup tool.
- You should register to vote at the location where you plan to be on the date of the general election (unless you are voting with an absentee or mail-in ballot). Information about changing your voter registration location can be found HERE.
If you’re unsure of if or where you are registered to vote, you can easily check your status online, HERE. It’s important to know this information ahead of time, particularly in the time of COVID-19, so you are prepared if you have to make changes.
Studies show that you’re more likely to vote if you make a plan ahead of time. Complete this form, and we’ll send you a customized voting plan to help you prepare to vote.
- Pennsylvania: Oct. 19, 2020
- Delaware: Oct. 3, 2020
- Maryland: Oct. 13, 2020
- New Jersey: Oct. 13, 2020
- Registration information for additional states can be found HERE.
- The PA deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot for the GENERAL ELECTION is October 27, 2020. (Live in another state? Check your state’s deadlines here).
- PA residents can apply for a mail-in ballot HERE.
- Once you have applied, you can check your application status HERE.
- Ballots must be mailed back and received by county voting officials by 5pm on November 3rd in order to be counted!
- Due to COVID-19 and depending on the availability of your county voting office, some mail-in ballots might not arrive quickly. If you are concerned about receiving your mail-in ballot by the deadline on Nov. 3rd, you can contact your county voting officials.
Yes! You have the right to register to vote at your school address—this includes a residence hall address. Any student living on campus is entitled to the same rights as any other student/person.
You can register to vote and request a ballot through the Overseas Vote Foundation.
As long as you are abroad temporarily (studying or for a temporary internship), you should register for an absentee ballot. If you are living abroad, you should contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program (fvap.gov). They specialize in getting people who live abroad registered to vote. The rules for people living abroad are different for those living in the United States. The FVAP can also be reached by phone at (800)438-VOTE.
I am a voter with a DISABILITY. Will my polling place be accessible and what options do I have to cast a ballot?
Every voter has the right to cast a private and independent ballot, including voters with disabilities. If you want to learn more about what your voting rights are or were denied the right to vote because of your disability, refer to your state’s National Disability Rights Network Member agency (look up by state here). Additional resources for voters with disabilities can be found through the S. Election Assistance Commission and Nonprofit VOTE.
If you were convicted of a felony, your voting rights may vary from state to state. Learn more here.
Yes, if you have changed your address, changed your name, or need to change your political party, you must re-register. Learn more here.
You must be a naturally born or fully naturalized U.S. citizen to register to vote.
Voter registration age requirements vary by state, but most states (including PA) allow individuals who will by 18 by the next election to register to vote. Learn more about state requirements here.
Most states require some form of identification either when you register and/or when you vote. The rules vary by state. In PA, ID is required to vote only for voters who are voting in a given district for the first time. Forms of ID include: a PA driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, ID issued by any Commonwealth agency, ID issued by the U.S. Government, U.S. passport, U.S. Armed Forces ID, Student ID or an Employee ID. Learn more about State Voter ID laws.
Oct. 15th & 16th: Local Candidates Virtual Panel, 6:30-8:30pm. Register HERE.
Oct. 19th: PA deadline to register to vote before the general election. Register HERE.
Oct. 19th: PA Student Voting Summit (Part II), 3-4pm. Register HERE.
Oct. 27th: PA deadline to apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot
Nov. 3rd: General election; mail-in and absentee ballots must be received by the county voting office by 8pm in PA.