To: All Students
From: Melissa Van Der Wall, Dean of Students
Date: November 3, 2022
Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. In this cycle, you have the voting power toward electing your member of the US House of Representatives and, depending on your county and municipality (town, city, village), elections for county executive, county commissioners, sheriff, town council and school board members, etc. Vote411.org/New Jersey serves as a resource for you to understand who is on your ballot. Though local elections typically do not receive much media attention, policies enacted into law at the local level directly impact us, our communities, families, and friends in significant ways.
We encourage you to participate in this important democratic process. We know you are likely thinking about issues affecting our lives such as the economy and inflation, immigration, jobs, reproductive rights, climate change, health care, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, student debt, and more. We encourage you to think about the type of leadership you want in office and exercise your right to vote.
You might be thinking whether or not your vote matters. Please consider that there have been elections where single votes determined the outcome. If you do not vote, others make decisions about the issues that are important to you. This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX. The legislation that led to Title IX had bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination (including sexual orientation and gender identity) in educational institutions that receive federal funding. The legislation also prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence. Without the leadership of Rep. Patsy Mink of Hawaii, President Nixon, and so many other active citizens, Title IX legislation may not have been enacted into law. This is one reason among many that your vote matters. Information about the College’s Title IX process can be found here.
Your vote is a valuable step in declaring to yourself and others what kind of society you want to live in. The right to vote was not always afforded to all Americans and many put their lives on the line to achieve voting rights. In 1964, during Freedom Summer (a voter registration program aimed at overcoming unjust barriers that prevented Black Americans from voting), Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner were brutally murdered while leading those efforts in Mississippi. Goodman, Chaney, Schwerner, and all the others who put their lives on the line are a reason to vote. (Ramapo is an Andrew Goodman Foundation campus – see information below).
According to NSLVE (the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement), Ramapo College students vote at a higher rate than the national average. In the 2018 midterm elections, RCNJ students’ voting rate was 45%. This is 6 percent higher than the voting rate for all institutions. And remarkably, this is also a 29.4% increase from the 2014 midterm elections. This year we have the opportunity to vote at even higher rates. RCNJ students’ voting rate for the 2020 presidential election was an astounding 77.1%. Our continued voting increases through the years have garnered national recognition from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. Continue to do your part as involved and committed Roadrunners and take us to new voting heights.
How to Vote
The General Election is being conducted by using three voting options:
1. Vote By Mail Ballot
To use this option, your County Clerk’s office must have received your Vote by Mail application by November 1st.
By Mail: You can mail your ballot via the United States Post Office. Ballots must be postmarked no later than 8:00pm on November 8th and be received by your county’s Board of Elections on or before November 14th.
By Drop Box: Place your vote-by-mail ballot in one of your county’s secure ballot drop boxes by 8:00pm on November 8th. Drop box locations can be found at the NJ Voter Information Portal.
By Board of Elections Office: Deliver the vote-by-mail ballot in person to your county’s Board of Elections Office by 8:00pm on November 8th. County Election Officials’ contact information can be found at the NJ Voter Information Portal.
2. In-Person Early Voting (October 29th to November 6th)
New Jersey established In-Person Early Voting last year. Every county provides registered voters with this option for this General Election.
3. At Your Polling Place on Election Day
Vote in person at your polling place from 6:00am to 8:00pm on Election Day, November 8th.
Ramapo Specific Resources and Information
Ramapo College is very fortunate to be a partner campus of the Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF). AGF provides us with tools such as My Vote Everywhere at Ramapo College and supports student ambassadors who have signed on to help you — their peers — navigate the process of educating you about your voting rights, getting out the vote, and becoming more democratically engaged through voting and other avenues.
Now that you have information about how to vote in this year’s General Election, you might be wondering what’s next. You are not alone. Historians, journalists, political scientists, and everyday citizens are all thinking about post-election outcomes.
Please join us Tuesday, November 8th, for an Election Night party from 7:00pm to 10:00pm in J. Lee’s. Join the College Republicans, Democracy Matters, the College Progressives, the Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere ambassadors, and the Civic and Community Engagement Center (CCEC) for a dive into the night’s results as they come in and enjoy fun games, civil conversation, and free food.
As November progresses, you are invited to join the CCEC’s observation of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Please participate in presentations and activities designed to bring awareness to the topics of hunger and homelessness, and how they impact students at Ramapo as well as those in the local community and beyond. And you will learn about the impact your vote has on topics such as food and housing insecurity, as well as related topics. Please look for information in the Daily Digest and In the Loop.
We hope you are inspired to vote. Voting is one of the best ways to declare what you value the most and we encourage you (if not already) to make a commitment to yourself that you will vote in each and every election. If you would like more information about how you can work with the CCEC, please email email@example.com.
Melissa Van Der Wall Dean of Students
Karen Booth Coordinator of Civic and Political Engagement