CUP OF JOE: Cancel Classes on Election Day


Villanova SGA

Let’s Vote Nova has been active in the student voter registration movement.

Joe Adams, Opinion Columnist

Nova Nation, it is almost time for one of the most important days of the year: Election Day. Although we are not voting for a new president, this election is still extremely critical to see what kinds of legislation will be passed on both the federal and state level. In Pennsylvania, besides voting for our local Congressperson, we will also be voting for a new Senator and Governor. But for many, being able to vote might be a challenge this year.

It is no secret that Villanova students are extremely busy. Whether it is classes, internships, club meetings or just homework, we do not have a lot of free time. In an election that is so important, I wondered why we even have classes on Election Day.

Perhaps we should not have class at all on Election Day — period. No questions asked. Midterm elections come once every two years, and presidential elections come once every four years. It is not a lot to ask for classes to be off on these significant days, as we are deciding the outcome of our futures. 

Many states give employees time off from work on Election Day to go to the polls and perform their civic duty. Nationwide, students have been pushing for years to have the day off to focus on the election. Not only would it be beneficial during the day to be able to vote, but having time at night to actually watch the results and see what the future holds is also important.

According to a survey conducted by YouGov, in 2016, 47% of college students did not vote because they were “too busy or had a conflict.” This is extremely problematic and troubling to read, and it made me passionate about learning more on this matter. 

Hally Ammons, the Assistant Director for Government & Community Relations at Villanova who is involved with the “Let’s Vote Nova” initiative, has been critical for voter registration at Villanova. I spoke to her to see if I could gain any more insight into the role that voting plays on Villanova’s campus. According to Ammons, Let’s Vote Nova was started a few years back.

“Let’s Vote Nova serves as a central, non-partisan, civic engagement initiative to provide Villanova students with timely and accurate information on voter registration and election information,” Ammons said. “During the presidential election of 2020, Let’s Vote Nova was critical in voter education, registration and mobilization for Villanova students.”

Ammons also spoke about the importance of registering to vote, especially if a student decides to vote in Pennsylvania.

“Villanova is currently divided into four voting wards,” Ammons said. “This means that students may have to change their address and re-register to vote each time they move from one residence hall to another – or off campus. Let’s Vote Nova volunteers can help students by checking their registration status and ensuring their registration forms are filled out correctly.”

Finally, Ammons talked about Election Day in Pennsylvania and having a plan to vote.

“The deadline to register in Pennsylvania is Oct. 24, and the general election is Nov. 8,” Ammons said. “Registration deadlines vary from state to state, so be sure to use the resources available on Let’s Vote Nova’s website to check deadlines around the country. Shuttles will be departing from Connelly Circle to polling places and volunteers will be present to help students confirm their registration status and polling place location.”

Ammons made it clear that voting for Villanova students was an easy process, but I wanted to find out more about whether having no class on Election Day was a probable idea.

I reached out to Allyson Levin, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, who teaches Media & Politics this semester, to see what she thought about the matter. 

“Faculty have an exciting opportunity to encourage their students to engage in the political process by having conversations about the importance of civic engagement and its relevance to our courses, as well as directing students to on-campus resources such as Let’s Vote Nova,” Levin said. “Villanova’s campus is split into four different polling places, all of which are off-campus. Let’s Vote Nova has produced useful materials to help students navigate voting and provides free-of-cost shuttles to assist with getting students to the polls on Election Day.”

Levin also shared her thoughts on changing class schedules around for Election Day and offered a slightly different approach than canceling classes altogether.

“Faculty may wish to consider an alternative class option on Election Day to help make it as easy as possible for students to vote,” she said. “I am not advocating for all classes to be canceled but have merely invited others to consider alternative class options, such as a recorded class or alternative assignment.”

This is key in the argument against canceling classes altogether on Election Day. I think that if students are given time to vote outside of class and are able to complete an assignment or watch a shorter lecture on their own, while not having to worry about attending class that day, it would be a great way to meet in the middle and have both professors and students get what they want. 

It is time for the University to step it up and demonstrate that the 2022 Midterm Election holds the same importance as a class session. Now is the time to act and set a precedent for future elections to come.