Why some professors are cancelling class or moving deadlines for Election Day

In order to encourage students to vote in the primary election this year, some Boise State University faculty members have either delayed assignment due dates or have canceled class in hopes that it provides students with enough time to go vote.  

Sam Huskell, a public speaking professor, has canceled her Tuesday, Nov. 3 class in the hopes of teaching her students to practice what they have learned in school and exercise their right to vote.

“All elections are important, but I feel that this one marks a pivotal moment in time,” Haskell said. “It is important to have as many people vote, but also participate in our democracy to the best of their ability.” 

Numerous media outlets across the nation have written about the importance of the 2020 primary election, specifically about the increase in voter turnout among millennials and Gen Z’ers.

“Students are in the middle of shaping their world views based on the education they are receiving,” Haskell said. “I think it is a priority for students to have opportunities to use their voice.”

Haskell says she hopes her students will take this free time to also take care of themselves mentally and physically.

“Being a student is difficult already, let alone dealing with a pandemic and an extremely important election,” Huskell said.

Huskell said that she believes classes should be canceled for future election days and believes that this could help make changes to current power structures that are preventing certain demographics from voting easily. 

This is currently seen with gerrymandering, having to vote in a specific location and having to schedule around work and school, according to Haskell.

[Photo of a woman with an ‘I Voted’ sticker on her finger]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

“Voting day should be taken more seriously in general in order to provide as many people as possible the opportunity to vote,” Haskell said. “If we truly value the people participating in our democracy, then we would implement as much as possible to make voting accessible.”

Sophomore business administration major Caroline Brittain agrees with the idea that classes should be canceled for future elections. 

“It makes it possible for everyone to vote if they can,” Brittain said. “Rather than having something blocking part of their free time to vote, or cause them to not be able to vote in the first place.”

Brittain’s Econ 202 professor moved her lecture to Thursday in order to give students a chance to vote.

“I think this is very courteous because, lately, I have been hearing that it has taken people hours to vote because there is only one polling place near them,” Brittain said. “This is important because they [professors] are able to understand that we want to exercise our right to be able to vote for who we want to be president.”

Students living on or near campus who have not voted yet can cast their votes at the Bronco stadium until 8:00 p.m. 

“It is important that people start practicing and thinking about voting and being involved in politics,” Haskell said. “I think it is a priority for students to have opportunities to use their voice.”

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