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"Countdown to Vote" Increases Engagement in 2020 Election

October 6, 2020

Libraries have traditionally served as one of the cornerstones of civic engagement in the US. They provide access to information, resources, programs and events, and informal learning environments for their communities. During an election year, that can take the form of offering voter registration drives, serving as polling places on Election Day and providing secure, monitored ballot boxes where absentee voters can drop their ballots and know they will count.

At Drexel, the Libraries seeks to further its own mission to provide access to authoritative information and to inspire the lifelong quest for learning during the 2020 election season. With only three weeks left until election day, that means ensuring all Drexel Dragons—students, faculty, staff and community members—have the information they need to make well-informed voting decisions now, as well as in the future.  

That’s why the Libraries, in collaboration with Drexel Votes (a coalition of groups within the University that are “committed to encouraging the entire Drexel University community to become registered voters, educated and engaged citizens, and active supporters of the candidate of their choice”) is launching Countdown to Vote, an educational, non-partisan webinar series on voting and elections.  

Webinars will focus on general voting and election issues, as well as issues specific to the 2020 Presidential Elections, such as at-home voting during COVID-19. Speakers include Drexel Professors of History & Politics William Rosenberg and Jack Santucci, and Michael Mezey, Professor Emeritus of Political Science from DePaul University in Chicago, with more to be announced.

Countdown to Vote aims to support the Drexel Undergraduate Student Government Association’s (USGA) efforts to educate the Drexel community about the importance of voting and to combat low voter turnout this November.

All Countdown to Vote events are free and open to all members of the Drexel community and the general public. Get all the details and register to attend through our events page.

For more information and resources about voting and elections, check out the Drexel Votes resource guide, and follow along with the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DrexelVotes.

Countdown to Vote Webinar Series

Voting Outside the Polling Place: Vote-by-Mail, Absentee Voting & Other “Vote-at-Home” Options
Speaker: William Rosenberg, PhD, Professor, Drexel University
Date: October 13, 3:30 PM - 4 PM 
Location: Virtual event 

In 2020, like every election year, it's important to make your voice heard, even if you can’t make it to the polls in person. Join us for a conversation with Professor William Rosenberg about the ins and outs of voting at home options, like voting by mail, absentee voting and early voting. Attendees will learn about the benefits and challenges of each, as well as the political implications for the 2020 Presidential election.  

Watch the recording

A Virtual Town Hall on Voting with the Committee of Seventy
October 19, 5 - 6 PM
Virtual event

As part of the Drexel Votes initiative, Drexel University invites you to participate in a virtual town hall and Q&A with the Committee of Seventy, a nonpartisan civic leadership organization based in Philadelphia. Lauren Cristella, Chief Advancement Officer for the Committee of Seventy, will address all the options for how to vote in the 2020 general election, as well as what you will find on your ballot, both in Pennsylvania broadly, and particularly here in Philadelphia. Open to all students, faculty, professional staff and community members, this event will be presented via Microsoft Teams.
Watch the recording


The Electoral College and the 2020 Election 
Speaker: Michael Mezey, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, DePaul University
Date: Thursday, October 22, 11 AM – 11:30 AM  
Location: Virtual event 

The next President will not necessarily be the candidate who receives the most popular votes but the candidate who receives a majority of the Electoral Votes. In this webinar, Professor Mezey will explain how the Electoral College works, what the advantages and disadvantages of the system are, and where—two weeks before election day—the election stands in regard to electoral votes.
Watch the recording


Perils of Presidentialism? Reconsidering American Institutions
Speaker: Amelia Hoover Green, PhD, Associate Professor & Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the College of Arts & Sciences, Drexel University
Date: October 23, 1 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Virtual event

Starting half a century ago, political scientist Juan José Linz argued that Presidential systems were prone to democratic breakdown and advocated for parliamentary systems. Other political scientists vociferously disagreed, mostly on the basis of one famous case: the United States. But is the US a counterexample, after all? During this session, Associate Professor Amelia Hoover Green examines crises of democracy — from FDR’s court-packing attempt, to modern authoritarianism in Hungary, Russia, and Venezuela, to recent concerns about the 2020 US Presidential election.
Watch the recording

Breaking Polarization: The Promise and Perils of Election Reform 
Jack Santucci, PhD, Assistant Teaching Professor, Drexel University
Lee Drutman, Senior Fellow at New America
Date: October 27, 11 AM – 11:30 AM 
Location: Virtual event 

Americans concerned about hyper-partisanship are exploring electoral reform as a promising solution. These reforms would change how people run for office, vote and win. But election reforms can be hard to achieve, and some may be more effective than others. Join the Libraries for a survey of the current reform landscape with Drexel Assistant Teaching Professor Jack Santucci and New America’s Lee Drutman.
Watch the recording