Media Roundup: Election Experts and Student Experiences

several folded newspapers on a gray backgroundFrom local to national news outlets, Pitt people have been sought-after sources in stories about the election. Read what they’ve have to say in the weeks leading up to today’s monumental vote.

Will we have election night results?

Pennsylvania won’t start counting mail-in ballots earlier than 7 a.m. on Nov. 3, which could delay election results. Jessie Allen, an associate professor of law at Pitt said people can expect presidential election results to start coming in from states that begin counting mail-in ballots before Election Day, as well as results for some local elections. She said it’s possible that the results of the presidential election will be available that night, but it’s also possible that people will have to wait to learn the outcome. “It might be time to think in terms of election week instead of election night,” she said.
Read more at WESA

Resources and events

For more information on voting, visit the Office of Community and Governmental Relations website.

For graduate and professional students:

Drop-in conversations with Vice Provost for Graduate Studies Amanda Godley:

Nov. 4 from 9-10 a.m. and 4-5 p.m.
Nov. 5 from noon-1 p.m.

Plus, Godley has shared resources for difficult conversations in the classroom.

For undergraduates:

The University Counseling Center is holding Election and U: Taking Care of Yourself and Others

Nov. 3 from 4-5 p.m.

Pitt Votes and the University Counseling Center are holding election and reflection sessions on Nov. 2-13 at noon each day.

Even when there is a day-of result during more “normal” years, the votes must still be certified and officially reported to the state, which must happen no later than the third Monday after the election. “Those results we see now on election night, they’re really not the official results yet,” said Chris Deluzio, policy director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security.
Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier

On demographics and shifts

In Pennsylvania’s Westmoreland County, Democrats are switching party affiliation to Republican, resulting in majority for the latter. Although numbers like that suggest a motivated GOP, Paul S. Adams, a political scientist at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, said that may not necessarily be the case. “I don’t know that Republicans have any more energy than Democrats this year—new registrations may or may not be meaningful, it is hard to know if they are really motivated voters. The GOP did big registration drives, but those voters may not be strong likely voters,” Adams said.
Read more at TribLive

In the 2018 midterm elections, Pennsylvania saw an increase in the number of women representatives, which led to policy changes around motherhood, breastfeeding and work. Kristin Kanthak, an associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh, says electoral victories from LGBTQ candidates could have a similar impact on legislation around LGBTQ issues.

“We’ve literally never seen minds change as quickly as they have on issues of LGBTQ rights, and that’s largely down to both political and personal lobbying that members of the LGBTQ community have done,” she said. This could encourage more people to run.
Read more at WESA

Pitt historian Lara Putnam said that suburban women could end up influencing whatever structural changes come after 2020: “My sense is that in many policy areas (health care reform, prison abolition, police abolition, ICE abolition) there is a much broader range of positions and priorities across the new (largely) suburban grassroots,” she emailed to Bloomberg. “But on structural reforms in support of small-d democracy, including very much court rebalancing, new grassroots folks are likely to be all in.”
Read more at Bloomberg Opinions

On civility

In her classroom, Kanthak said she tries to soften the stereotypes that can magnify what divides Americans.

“Every year I tell my students I am going to say two things, and one of those two things will blow their minds,” she said. “First, Democrats don’t actually think it is OK for people to sit on the couch and get free money sent to them. Second, Republicans don’t actually think poor people should have to die if they get sick and can’t afford care.”
Read more in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Pitt students share their views

First-year student and first-time voter Mia Chiaro said she’s nervous about what happens after the election and is seeing polarization on social media: “It’s such a polarized thing, it’s causing problems with friendships,” she said. “I don’t think a lot of people in our generation, voting for the first time, realize it’s not usually like this.”
Read more in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Shakira Jackson, a sophomore at Pitt-Bradford, is a first-time poll worker this year—one of a diverse group of younger Americans stepping up to volunteer. “I’m hoping that this will give them the message that, hey, this is something that you can do, too,” she said. “We need more youth here.”
Read more at NBC News

Preston Nouri, who grew up in Pennsylvania’s Erie County, shared his thoughts on the margin Trump won the state by in 2016: “Well, if 44,000 people can decide the election and all 44,000 people thought that their vote didn’t matter, which we can see with voter apathy being on the rise ... that mindset that your vote does not matter is what is going to be, well, the destruction of our democracy.”
Read more in HuffPost

Senior Jess Scott has been working with resident advisors across campus via Zoom to host voter information sessions for students in their halls. “We just came in and got as many students as we could engaged on their floor,” said Scott, a fellow with Rise, a college voter advocacy organization.
Read more in The New York Times