By Joanna Reid
Across the country Election Day 2022 will take place on Tuesday, November 8. This will be a momentous election as inflation continues to increase and Roe v. Wade has been overturned and left to be determined by state governments. In New York, Democrat Chuck Schumer is running for re-election and whether or not he keeps his role as the majority leader in the U.S.
Senate is a balance of power that is up for grabs nationally. Meanwhile, the New York governor’s race can determine if a pro-choice Democrat, Kathy Hochul, is officially elected as the first female in the role in the state, or pro-life Republican candidate Lee Zeldin wins–which could potentially change access to abortion rights in New York. No matter what side of the aisle members of the Adelphi community stand on, the university has made Election Day an official holiday in order to allow everyone the chance to vote. Whether or not those same people are informed about what is on the ballot is the work of several organizations and individuals here.
Adelphi’s Center for Student and Community Engagement (SCE) assists in running a program called Adelphi Votes. The webpage states, “Adelphi University is committed to provide students and staff the opportunity to register to vote.” It includes information on how to register, important registration deadlines and links to help one request a mail-in ballot and learn about their state’s voting details. (Today, October 24, is the last day to receive an absentee ballot, which must be postmarked by November 8.)
Kelsey D’Andrea, the coordinator of the SCE, said the Center has been using this program to educate students through their social media on how they can vote. Their Instagram (@engageadelphi) has posted numerous stories on the topic and even dedicated an entire highlight to encouraging people to vote. On top of this, on September 30, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority set up a table in the University Center to help register people to vote.
D’Andrea thinks that voter turnout in statewide elections tends to be lower compared to Presidential elections, partly because people are not as well informed on the candidates. She strongly believes that it is important for students to exercise their right to vote.
“At the end of the day you all are the future generations, so the decisions and turnouts of your voting determine how your pathway of life is also going to be, the way your country is going to be run,” D’Andrea said. “Decisions that are made today can affect decisions made 10 years from now. It’s important because it's your adulthood, it’s your life, it’s the life of your fellow students, fellow colleagues, friends and family.”
As a part of the Center’s Adelphi Votes program, the Feminist Alliance highlighted the importance of voting on their “My AU Life'' page. They formed a blog post entitled, “Why Voting Matters,” an initiative started by Athena Bressack, former associate director for the Center for Student and Community Engagement. Bressack reached out with questions for the alliance to answer. One member, Iyana Bakersville, wrote, “Voting is a right that not all are afforded. We owe it to the voiceless to be their voice. Voting is a crucial part of protecting and fighting for human rights.”
Adelphi’s College Republican club is hoping people will go out and vote as well. The president, Bradley Greissman, said, “We are encouraging people to vote Republican down the line in the upcoming election. I feel like our country is headed in the wrong direction under this president [Joe Biden] and I feel like conservative leadership will fix the problems that were caused.”
Greissman explained that some of the most important issues to the club are “high gas prices and bail reform, but another issue that individuals are not talking about is the fact that millions of individuals have lost their jobs due to certain medical choices [vaccination status].”.
On the other hand, Alyssa Furline, president of the Feminist Alliance, said, “I cannot rightfully speak for our members and the issues that are closest to their heart. However, we have covered abortion rights, menstrual justice and barriers for Hispanic women. I trust that we are all working towards an intersectional approach to who we will be choosing for leadership in the upcoming election.”
In reference to federal abortion rights being overturned, Furline said, “The eBoard was quick
to act in the chaos of summer when Roe v. Wade was officially overturned. Our director of finances and events drafted our ‘Abortion is Healthcare Toolkit’ for members to find ways in which they can take action. We are doing our best to provide information on current civil rights and on how to vote. Ultimately, our role is to empower our peers to advocate for themselves and those around them. To do so, we must demonstrate to them that we trust in their ability to make their own choice in this election.”
Greissman said, “The ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson will not affect my vote at all. We are evenly split on this issue in our own club, but the members of the club who are pro-choice still plan to vote Republican down ballot.”
After a poll done on The Delphian’s Instagram account (@the_delphian), 71 percent of respondents said they were aware of what district they vote in and 86 percent knew of the candidates on the ballot. Additionally, it seems that most people will be voting in person, rather than by mail.
It’s clear that the Adelphi community is passionate about voting. Both students and staff are working hard to motivate others to vote by making it easier for people to learn about the different ways they can vote, how to vote and have open conversations about the issues that may be affected by the upcoming election.