FAMU class cancellations could be the answer to increase voter participation

Election Day is quickly approaching. Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

Even with Florida A&M University’s efforts to create student and staff engagement with the 2020 election season, there are still some who are undecided on if they will exercise their right to vote.

With a new wave of freshman and currently enrolled students who are now of legal voting age, during what is said to be one of the biggest political races to date, there are still some who haven’t taken advantage of the campus and university resources provided to assist students. For some, there hasn’t been an urgency to get to the polls with the lack of normalcy due to the current pandemic and for others it’s the bar that has been set during the recent presidential debates.

“I think cancelling classes would encourage more students to vote. I know there are students who are just as busy, if not busier than me, that can’t find the time to vote.” Said Israel Salazar, a Senior Music Industry major at the university.

Salazar also stated that he does plan to vote but he just hasn’t had the time due to working full time and being a full-time student. Most students that are in town for school are running into scheduling conflicts because of the adjustments they made after virtual learning was introduced. Some students have taken on full-time jobs and others have added more classes than normal. With these changes come challenges for students who may actually intend to vote on Election Day.

“While I think cancellation is helpful in general, it also causes some disruption to the operation. The administration is looking for ways to eliminate barriers and make it really convenient for whoever wants to vote on campus in terms of having a polling station,” said University Provost, Maurice Edington.

Edington went on to say that awareness and educating students about expressing their will and the resources they have available would be an effective way to make sure they carry out their vote. Edington also said that the university’s president has been active in participating in marches and other events to create awareness. He encourages students to take the time to do their own independent research on candidates and to remember that they are the future and that they are influential especially when they participate.

“Election Day is your last chance to vote! Voting hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. All voters waiting in line at 7 p.m. will have the opportunity to vote. You must vote at your assigned polling place, or if required due to the pandemic or other emergency, at an alternative site. Please check for the latest updates before you go to vote.” According to the Leon County Supervisor of Elections website.

For students who just haven’t had the opportunity to vote and plan to exercise their rights on Election Day, here are some tips: remember your power, check for voting cut-off times and deadlines, research your candidates and be sure to find the appropriate precinct near you to cast your vote if not on campus.