Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members, With Election Day less than two weeks away, on Tuesday, November 6th, this is both a reminder of the fundamental right and fundamental responsibility of citizens to vote and an exhortation to exercise them!
As we strive to make that possible, we must recognize that circumstances in the many communities in which we live and vote can vary widely, for example, with regard to how easy it is to get to one’s designated polling place and/or how long lines may be at the polls. Further, the challenges of balancing family and professional responsibilities as so many of us do, including so many of our students, can be exacerbated on Election Day. Bearing all of this in mind, we ask all instructors to exercise understanding and leniency with students who may encounter difficulties in voting, to avoid as much as possible scheduling major assignments and/or tests on that day, and to allow students to make up work they may miss.
We also encourage all members of our community to plan ahead for Election Day. Any member of the RU-N community registered to vote in New Jersey can navigate to count-by-county voting information here: https://www.nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-local-officials.html. Students looking for information on how to vote in New Jersey may start here: https://www.nj.gov/state/elections/voting-information-college-students.html
As a university where we take our diversity seriously—not for granted—we recognize that it takes hard work to leverage it to the fullest for our individual and collective good. Voting is among the most basic ways we can do that—assuring that every voice is heard—and, in fact, it is also among the easiest. New Jersey is among the states that employs “no excuse” voting, by which any registered voter may use an absentee ballot to vote without having to offer any excuse for voting by that means. In a sense, then, there also is no excuse not to vote.
The philosopher John Dewey said that democracy “has to be enacted anew in every generation, in every year and day, in the living relations of person to person in all social forms and institutions.” Exercising your right to vote is pivotal to enacting democracy. Please do so for your sake and for all of ours.
Peter T. Englot
Senior Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Chief of Staff
Rutgers University – Newark
123 Washington St., Suite 590 Newark, NJ (973)-353-5541