Elon University and the organization Elon Votes are helping student voters participate in the election by creating BioBus shuttle routes to the polls for in-person voters and canceling classes on Election Day.
On Election Day, students will have the chance to take the BioBus — which will be running on loops all day — to voting centers. In addition to this option, they can drive or walk themselves to their polling place.
No matter when or how students vote, Elon Votes co-coordinator Andrea Sheetz stressed the importance of voting this election.
“[Voting] is probably the simplest yet one of the most critical ways that we have a voice in our democracy,” Sheetz said.
Sheetz said students who have any questions about voting should talk to Elon Votes. They have office hours Monday through Friday both in-person and on Zoom or WebEx. They want to help to make sure that as many students as possible vote this year.
The BioBus shuttles will run on a loop throughout the day with an estimated wait time of 15 to 20 minutes, according to Sheetz. Shuttles will leave from the Center for the Arts from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and take students to either of Elon’s two polling places. Before getting on the shuttle, Elon Votes members will help students make sure they’re going to the right place.
Elon Votes staff advisor Bob Frigo said the fact that Elon has canceled classes on Election Day, shows the school’s commitment to work in civic engagement is.
“This Election Day holiday provides generous time for members of the Elon community to cast their ballots,” Frigo said. “But also for students, faculty and staff to help staff polling places here in Alamance County and in local counties as the need for poll workers is significant this year due to the virus.”
Frigo said that approximately 18.4% of Elon students cast their ballots during early voting during the 2016 election. However, students are advised to “do everything early this year,” Frigo said, adding that students voting in Alamance County should cast their ballots during the early voting period.
“It is important to add that voting is absolutely crucial, but one of many ways that we challenge students to actively engage in democracy and civic life,” Frigo said. “We want students to gain a deeper understanding of how government works and to develop the necessary skills to engage in civil discourse across political divides to advance the common good.”