2022 Voting Information for the Drexel University Community
Election Day isn’t until Nov. 8, but it’s not too early to start getting prepared.
Drexel University places heavy emphasis on civic engagement and has plenty of resources for Dragons to get prepared to do their civic duty and cast a ballot. The Drexel University Libraries compiled a guide with information about when the election is, what races are at stake, how to register to vote and where to find your polling place. The Office of Government and Community Relations has a similar guide with Frequently Asked Questions for students.
As for non-Drexel resources, the Committee of Seventy is a Philadelphia organization founded in 1904 to combat corruption and protect and improve the voting process, and they provide many resources, including a non-partisan Voter Guide that lets you build your ballot.
In Pennsylvania, the deadline to register to vote is Oct. 24 and the deadline for requesting a mail-in or absentee ballot is 5 p.m. on Nov. 1. Any U.S. citizen who has resided in Pennsylvania for at least 30 days before the election is eligible to vote in the state’s elections. You can register online with some basic information, like your address (which can be your Drexel residence hall), birthdate, contact information, and either a Pennsylvania license or a Social Security number.
Pennsylvania allows any voter to request a vote-by-mail ballot, but the deadline to apply for one is 5 p.m. on Nov. 1. Mail-in ballots must be received — not simply postmarked — by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8 at your County Board of Elections office (mail-in ballots cannot be returned at your polling place). You may also request an absentee ballot but must mark a reason for absentee voting (for example, if you know you will be out of town on Election Day).
Drexel organizations are hosting events to help educate students about voting and inspire them to become voters. From 6–7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, there will be a Decoding Voting event — “What Do You Know About Voting?” — hosted at the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement. Along with the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Lindy Center will share information about voting, formulating opinions and determining what’s important to you as a voter. Another Decoding Voting event — “The When, How and Where of Voting” — will be held from 6–7:30 p.m. on Oct. 20 in Room 223 of the Rush Building.
From noon to 2 p.m. and 4–6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11, the Drexel Votes coalition is hosting a voter registration drive and tabling event at the Mario the Dragon statue at 33rd and Market streets. All members of the community are invited to stop by.
The Undergraduate Student Government Association’s Civic Engagement Committee, led by Chair Vivek Babu, has been organizing to increase turnout across the University. Starting in 2020, USGA worked to make Election Day a half day on campus to allow more time to vote. Their next goal is to turn Election Day into a full-day holiday for the University to allow students, faculty and staff to vote and to promote civic engagement on campus.
“The college experience of voting can be really difficult, because I don’t think a lot of college students recognize that you have to change your address to be able to vote in Philadelphia elections,” Babu said. “You can change your location as needed. Even if you’re from New Jersey, or New York, or somewhere else in Pennsylvania, you’re able to change your address.”
Babu and other USGA members are working to dispel uncertainties and reluctance amongst students to increase student voter turnout by putting out information about voter ID, registration requirements and other voter questions and by working with the Civic Influencers.
“The challenging thing about voter registration in college is that it doesn’t really click why your vote matters,” Babu said. “I think when you’re older and settled in one location, you get it, but if you’re in college, it’s hard to see why your vote matters and the impact it has.”
USGA is working to bring in speakers to talk about that impact as well as why it’s important to engage with hyperlocal elections, which usually have the most impact on a citizen’s day-to-day life. Babu said one of his biggest goals this year is to hammer home that local elections matter to college students to give them a reason to go to the polls. Issues like gentrification and resource allocation within a community aren’t determined by federal or state representatives, Babu emphasized, but by the representatives of the district in which you live.
Babu said he hopes to emphasize to students that voting and engaging with the community you live in is important. USGA also tries to include Drexel students who can’t vote, like international students, in community efforts, because there are ways to civically engage in the place you live even without voting.
“Local elections are where you’ll see the most results in your educational lifetime,” Babu said. “Drexel historically has had impactful volunteer and service organizations on campus and engaging with the community in that way is important. Casting your ballot isn’t enough. It's about re-engaging with the community. In a time when everything is divided, that doesn’t mean we can’t all come together to help our community the best way we can.”
The two biggest races in Pennsylvania are for the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate seats. The former race is between Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano and Democrat and current Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, while the latter is between Democrat and current Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz.
Other races include the statewide lieutenant governor race between Democrat Austin Davis and Republican Carrie DelRosso. The Drexel area’s Congress seat is on the ballot as well, between incumbent Democrat Dwight Evans and Socialist Workers Party candidate Christopher Hoeppner. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 10 office is up as well, but incumbent Democrat Amen Brown is the only candidate. In Philadelphia, two at-large city councilmembers will be elected to fill seats vacated by Alan Domb and Derek Green.
A few measures will be on the ballot in Philadelphia as well, including the Civil Service Examination Preferences for School District Career Technical Education Graduates Amendment. A “yes” vote means supporting civil service entrance exams for technical education graduates. Another measure is the Department of Aviation Amendment, in which a “yes” vote means supporting the creation of a Philadelphia Aviation Department that would consolidate airport operations from various agencies into one.
For students who are registered to vote with a Drexel residence hall address, in-person voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Daskalakis Athletic Center at 3301 Market St., but if you live north of Powelton Avenue or elsewhere in Philadelphia, your polling place will be different; find it on the PA Voter Services website. When you go to vote at a polling place for the first time, bring an ID with you — a student ID is sufficient.