PROVIDENCE, R.I., -- On Tuesday, November 3rd, Americans throughout the country will cast their vote for the 2020 presidential election. Also on the ballot on Tuesday are local elections such as state representative races and elections for Rhode Island’s Congressional Representatives.
Due to the coronavirus, many Americans have chosen to cast their ballots by mail. As of Thursday, approximately 243,830 Rhode Islanders or nearly 30% of registered voters, had already voted, with over half of those being mail-in ballots. Furthermore, states throughout the United States are anticipating record-setting voter turnout on Tuesday. Some states such as Texas, have already surpassed the total number of ballots cast in the 2016 election.
High voter turnout and higher rates of mail-in ballots cast have left many Americans wondering when the winner of the Presidential race will be announced. The Rhode Island Board of Elections started counting mail-in ballots on Wednesday in order to speed up the process on election day. However, not all states are like Rhode Island, 22 states place the District of Columbia will count mail-in ballots received after election day as long as they were postmarked before November 3rd. Providing that neither President Trump nor Vice President Joe Biden reaches 270 votes on election day, Americans could be waiting days for results.
To ease the stress of the election and of college classes, Rhode Island College has organized a Post Election Walk ‘n Talk to take place on the Wednesday following the election. The event will take place during free-period from noon to 2 pm and feature “wellness tables set up along a circular pathway to help prompt conversation and space for you to reflect and decompress after months of anticipation.” The Post Election Walk ‘n Talk will also feature an interactive portion in which students can follow along on their cell phones.
In order to adhere to RIC and the Department of Health’s COVID-19 guidelines, the event will be outside on The Quad and students will be directed one-way to encourage social distancing. Students are encouraged to bring a friend and will be required to wear a mask at all times.
Off-campus students will also be able to participate by watching videos that will be promoted to students on Wednesday. The eight tables will encourage various different types of wellness including, social and community wellness, environmental wellness, intellectual wellness, physical wellness, spiritual wellness, emotional wellness, and a table that will also be set up to point students to mutual aid resources.
In an email sent out to the RIC campus community, the Dialogue on Diversity and Inclusion Committee urged RIC, students, faculty and staff to continue to support each other as we await the election results next week. The email stated, “First, we can have thoughtful, respectful conversations about the election season and its results. Gaining an understanding of our democratic process is part of a Rhode Island College education and we encourage discussion. Secondly, we can encourage each other to think through now what our reactions will be next week, based on the possible election outcomes, as well as our institutional values and our dedication to educational excellence. We also can further “unpack” the election in classes and in virtual spaces that support student life.”
The RIC Post Election Walk ‘n Talk is a collaborative effort from the RI College Office of Student Life, Counseling Center, Adams Library, Unity Center, Political Science Club, Health & Physical Education, Environmental Club, Unity Center, Interfaith Center & Residence Life & Housing.