Dear UMBC Community,
In the next six weeks, Baltimore and the United States will elect leaders who will make decisions and take actions that affect all of our lives in profound ways. We encourage you to use this time to cast your whole vote by learning about the candidates and issues, talking and listening to each other about your views and experiences, and continuing to make our UMBC community a forum for deep, respectful engagement.
Earlier this year we signed the Higher Education Presidents’ Commitment to Full Student Voter Participation, committing to a goal of full participation in Election 2020 by members of the UMBC community. UMBC has a proud tradition of national leadership in voter turnout, and received a Gold Award from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for its 113 percent increase in student voter turnout in the 2018 election (relative to 2014).
Today is National Voter Registration Day. In Maryland, the voter registration deadline is October 13, 2020, just three weeks from now. Because of changes to the election due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may need more time to complete the voting process. If you want to vote by mail, you will need to allow time for the Board of Elections to send your ballot so you can return it by Election Day. Start the process now by registering to vote (or checking your existing registration) and making a voting plan using ALL IN to Vote’s tools.
UMBC is competing with schools in the America East Conference and across the U.S. to have the most members of the campus community take ALL IN’s pledge to vote. Students, faculty, and staff can pledge and view the national leaderboard here.
As crucial as voting is, there are many other important ways to take responsibility for the future of our communities and make them thrive. Social change can happen in neighborhoods, workplaces, and everyday settings. You can work with the people around you to address issues in your own communities. Connecting and sharing stories helps people move beyond stereotypes and recognize each other’s humanity. That is what it means to cast your whole vote.
The Center for Democracy and Civic Life; Center for Social Science Scholarship; Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion, and Belonging; Graduate Student Association; Student Government Association; and other campus departments and organizations are hosting programs (some of them listed here) that bring UMBC students, faculty, staff, and alumni into conversations about Election 2020 and the issues affecting our lives. Please consider participating.
President Freeman Hrabowski and Provost Philip Rous