The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Preparing to participate in the 2020 Election


When is Election Day?

Election Day will be on Nov. 3 this year. But, with the increase in mail-in voting because of COVID-19, many voters will be casting their votes earlier than Nov. 3.

Who is on the ballot?

This year is a presidential election year. Republican incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and democratic nominee Joe Biden are both running for president. Beyond the presidential race, however, there are elections in Pennsylvania at both the national and state level. 

All 18 of Pennsylvania’s congressional seats are up for election, as are all 203 seats in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives and half of Pennsylvania’s 50 state Senate seats. Additionally, Pennsylvania’s auditor general, attorney general and treasurer are on the ballot for this year’s general election.

How do I vote?

In Pennsylvania, you can register to vote online on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 19. Once you’re registered to vote, there are a number of different ways to vote in Pennsylvania, including voting in-person, early voting or voting by mail.

To vote in person on Nov. 3, go to your polling location and cast your vote. Polling locations are based on where you are registered to vote. You can find your polling location using the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website. Polls in Pennsylvania are open from 7 a.m.- 8 p.m.

To vote early in person, Philadelphia set up seven locations across the city for people to register to vote, request mail-in ballots and securely cast those ballots at the same time. These locations opened on Sept. 29 and will be open seven days a week. The closest location to St. Joe’s campus is Overbrook Elementary School, located at 2032 N 62nd. The closest location for students living in Manayunk is Roxborough High School at 6498 Ridge Ave. More information can be found on Philly Early Voting’s website.

All Pennsylvania voters are eligible to vote by mail, and can request their mail-in ballot online until Oct. 27. Once your ballot has arrived, fill out the ballot, place your ballot inside its “secrecy” envelope and either mail your ballot back with the U.S. Postal Service or drop your ballot off at your county election office or other designated drop-off location. Be sure to place your ballot inside a signed, secrecy envelope. If not, your ballot may not be counted. 

Drop-off locations will be open until 8 p.m. on Election Day. If you decide to mail back your ballot through U.S. Postal Service, the earlier you send your ballot back the better, since Pennsylvania is expecting postal delays. 

All ballots mailed back must be postmarked before 5 p.m. on Election Day on Nov. 3. Learn more about mail-in voting on Pennsylvania’s Votes PA website.

Why should I vote?

For the majority of St. Joe’s undergraduate students, this will be the first election in which they are eligible to vote. Members of Generation Z comprised 4% of the vote in the 2018 midterm election and are projected to make up 10% of all eligible voters in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. However, young voter turnout remains low with only 51% of all eligible voters under 40 voting in elections, according to the Brookings Institute. 

“Our generation is one of the most active generations I’ve ever seen with social justice and activism,”  Katy Green ’21 said. Green is a member of St. Joe’s chapter of POWER U, an organization that unites college students across Philadelphia to organize for social change, focusing on topics like criminal justice reform, education funding and integrated voter engagement. 

“Look around at the protests happening in the nation right now, it’s young people, college students, on the street protesting against injustice in the U.S.,” Green said. “The best way to make sure demands are being met is to elect people who will act on what we were asking for from the government and from our society.”

The presidential election is particularly consequential in Pennsylvania because Pennsylvania is a swing state, a state where the two major political parties have similar levels of support among voters, with President Trump only winning by a 1.2% margin in 2016. 

“We fully expect that our student body will be engaged in the political process during this especially historic election season,” Cheryl McConnell, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Academic Affairs wrote in a university announcement on Sept. 24. “In fact, we encourage reasonable assembly, expression and political activities consistent with our policies and public health guidelines.”

I’m already registered to vote, how else can I get involved? 

The university is in the process of planning a series of events, training and discussions leading up to the 2020 election, according to a university announcement from University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D. 

“Whether you are a first-year student still new to campus, or a tenured professor, you know that engaged citizenship is a key tenet of a St. Joe’s education and our Jesuit tradition,” Reed wrote in the announcement.

Beyond university run events, student organizations, like POWER U, College Democrats and Campus Ministry, are promoting voting on their social media accounts, holding voting registration events and are speaking during Zoom classes to educate students on the importance of voting, Green said. Green also said she acknowledges the importance of  one-on-one conversations with peers and encouraging friends and classmates to register to vote. 

“It looks a lot different from what we’ve done in the past but we have to adapt,” Green said. “This election is so important that we can’t just not do anything, you have to make sure people know what’s at stake.” 

Not voting in Pennsylvania?

DE: Register to vote by Oct. 10, request your mail-in ballot by Oct. 30., and mail-in ballots must be received in the mail by Nov. 3 or dropped off by 8 p.m. on Nov 3. Vote in person at your polling location from 7 a.m to 8 p.m on election day. Learn more on Delaware’s iVote website


MD: Register to vote by Oct. 13 and request your mail-in ballot by Oct. 20. Maryland will also be sending mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters. To return your mail-in ballot, drop it off at a designated drop off location no later than 8 p.m on Nov. 3 or mail it through USPS, with your ballot postmarked by Nov. 3. To vote in person, vote early from Oct. 26 to Nov. 2 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at your nearest voting center, or vote on Nov. 3 at your nearest voting center from 7 a.m to 8 p.m. Learn more on Maryland’s voter services website


NJ: Register to vote by Oct. 13. All registered voters in New Jersey will receive a mail-in ballot. All ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 10. Ballots can also be dropped off at secure drop box locations, with 10 drop-off locations per county. New Jersey is mainly operating with a mostly mail-in format but polling locations will be open from 6 a.m.- to 7 p.m. with traditional voting mechanisms for voters with disabilities and provisional ballots for other voters. Learn more on New Jersey’s voter service’s website.


NY: Register to vote by Oct. 9. Request your absentee ballot by Oct. 27. All absentee ballots being mailed back must be postmarked by Nov. 3, or dropped off at one of the 300 drop off locations statewide by 9 p.m. on election day. New York voters can also vote early from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1 at early voting polling locations. Vote in person on Nov. 3 from 6 a.m to 9 p.m at your local polling place. Learn more information on New York’s voting website.


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