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University leaders encourage you to vote and make your voice heard

October 22, 2020
Hands place "I voted today" stickers on Susan B. Anthony's headstone.Voters placed their stickers on Susan B. Anthony's headstone at Mount Hope Cemetery during the 2016 election. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

With the US general election quickly approaching, the University’s Senior Leadership Group encourages faculty, staff, and students to exercise their right to vote—by absentee ballot, at an early voting site, or on Election Day, November 3.

Voting is one of the key activities you can take part in to contribute to our nation’s democratic process—and an important way to make your voice heard on both local and national issues. Voting also helps to realize the University’s Meliora values and to advance our mission of “making the world ever better.”

And this year, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, it’s important to note that casting your vote honors the legacies of Rochester’s voting rights pioneers, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

Recognizing the importance of informed participation of registered voters in the election, the University has partnered with Democracy Works to create a TurboVote portal to help members of the University community register to vote, request absentee ballots, and take steps needed to participate in the 2020 election.

The University is also offering resources to help students participate in early voting.

Early voting: ‘Stroll to the Polls’, shuttles for students

Early voting in Monroe County is open from Saturday, October 24, through Sunday, November 1, at 12 area polling sites.

On Sunday, October 25, undergraduate students registered to vote in Monroe County can sign up to participate in a “Stroll to the Polls” at either 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. Participants will walk as a group from the River Campus to the early voting location at 1316 Genesee Street in Genesee Valley Park.

Undergraduates registered in Monroe County can also sign up for a shuttle (October 31 or November 1) from Rush Rhees Library to early voting sites in Genesee Valley Park and Marketplace Mall between the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Voting by mail

New York State has approved voting by absentee ballot during the COVID 19 pandemic. If you’d like to vote by absentee ballot, you need to first request a ballot. New York State absentee ballot applications, available online and at the Common Connection (Room 201) in Wilson Commons. Applications must be received at the Board of Elections by Tuesday, October 27. Once you have your ballot and complete it, it must be mailed (postmarked) or hand-delivered to the Board of Elections by Tuesday, November 3.

Absentee ballot applications for all states are available through the TurboVote portal. Deadlines and procedures vary by state.

Vote on Election Day

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3. You can check your polling place on the New York State Board of Elections website.

A few reminders

If you’re voting in-person, you should take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and washing your hands before and after voting.

University employees who are registered voters may take off up to two hours of working time to vote at any election without losing pay if the voter does not have four consecutive hours either between the opening of the polls and the beginning of work or between the end of work and the closing of the polls. You can take time off at the beginning or end of your work shift or a time agreed upon with your supervisor. Notify your supervisor no more than 10 working days and no less than two days before the day of election.

Also, you should be aware that the University’s policy on political activities restricts the use of University resources to support partisan political activities.

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