Student voter participation at Transylvania key to active citizenship

I recently wrote about active citizenship at a distance and the nuances of being a good community member when you’re healthy at home. Active citizenship is a concept that’s needed to change form during the pandemic. It no longer means supporting my neighbors face to face — it means that I am keeping my community safe by staying home. It feels like a contradiction: To help others, I need to keep my distance from them. 

Active citizenship will soon take on a new form: the 2020 election. This is certainly one of the strangest election years in history, where presidential candidates are campaigning from their basements and primary elections are being canceled, delayed and moved to other formats. 

For those of us who are eligible, voting in local and national elections is one of the primary ways we practice active citizenship and support democracy. Regardless of your political affiliation, your vote and your voice matters. 

Kentucky’s primary election is June 23. All eligible Kentucky voters can request an absentee ballot (also called “voting by mail”). Make sure you have checked your registration and requested an absentee ballot — by June 15 at the latest. If you’re not yet registered, you can do so here and then vote in the general election in November. 

What if you’re not in Kentucky, or you want to make sure you receive notifications when it’s time to vote? Transylvania has partnered with TurboVote, a resource that makes it easy to check your voter registration and request an absentee ballot. This is a great resource if you don’t live in Kentucky — it has voter registration information for all 50 states.

As we look to the general election in November, Transylvania is committed to supporting all of our eligible students to vote. President John N. Williams recently signed a commitment to support full student voter participation. 

I believe that as a Transylvania community we can get to full voter participation — in fact, that’s why I’ve worked with a committee of faculty, staff and students to that end. There is a role for each of us to play to make sure we’re registered and know how we’re going to vote and that we’re prepared to do so.