In a presidential election year in which political parties seem to be intentionally complicating—and attacking—the voting process, it was refreshing to hear a panel of election experts explain the process of casting a ballot. And even then there were questions, so many questions…
The September 16 virtual webinar, How to Vote During a Pandemic, was hosted by Mason Votes in partnership with the Office of Community Engagement and Civic Learning (CECiL), and featured Schar School associate professors Jennifer N. Victor and Robert J. McGrath and Schar School undergraduate Jean Thoensen, a chief election officer at a Fairfax County polling location.
Schar School freshman Noah Mack, a Government and International Politics major from Alexandria, Va., moderated the hour-long discussion while organizer Kristen Wright, director of civic engagement, provided relevant web links in the chat box.
View the recording.
Among the topics discussed were election integrity (Victor said data shows there is historically very little); the value of a vote (McGrath pointed to studies that show how significant each vote is not only to the candidate but to the voting district); and the various methods of voting (Thoensen elaborated on voting early, voting by mail, and voting in person).
“The most surprising aspect to me was on the postal service’s ability to handle mail-in voting,” Mack said after the discussion. “It was stated that even if all eligible voters cast their ballot via mail, it would not be more than the holiday season mail load. Truly, our postal service is outstanding and beyond capable of carrying out increased mail-in voting.”
His main takeaway from the conversation?
“It left me with the impression of the work that must be done to continue promoting the democratic process of voting. We cannot allow misinformation, bad election policy, or any shenanigans to hinder Americans from exercising their right to vote, even during a pandemic.”
Learn how Mason students can vote and find out more about elections and politics at Mason.