Be a Voter (NOW) (Please)

While I am messaging on “things you already know” (see Oct. 2 message, “Protecting Each Other”), please note that we have an important national election in less than three weeks.

Over the past year, I have been so impressed and moved by the passionate social awareness and advocacy of our students, staff, and faculty. Voting is the natural outgrowth of this sense of responsibility. It is a point in time when we have the opportunity to make our voices heard about the future of our country, state, and community. Our democracy only works well if we are all counted, so speak up and be a voter!

As President Gabel and Provost Croson have already said in their recent messages, with COVID-19 and other factors impacting our world, it is good to plan in advance how you will cast your vote. Even better is to put your plan in action and vote NOW.

If you have already voted, thank you!! If you haven’t read on for what I hope is some helpful information.

If the messages you are hearing directly don’t make it obvious how important it is to vote, the sheer number of options of how to vote should make that clear. So here is everything you ever wanted to know about voting but were afraid to ask (also known as “no excuses to not vote”):

  1. Can I vote in Minnesota?
    • If you have lived in Minnesota for 20 days and provide proof of residence, you can vote in Minnesota.
    • If you have not lived in Minnesota for 20 days, go to for information.
    • Make sure you are registered to vote at
  2. How do I vote?
  3. Can I take time off to vote?
    • On Nov. 3, University employees (faculty, staff, residents, fellows, graduate assistants who are not work-study) have paid leave to vote. Contact your HR lead if you have questions.
    • Students do not have an excused absence from class to vote, but faculty and supervisors are encouraged to consider reasonable accommodations for students who experience unforeseen delays in voting that create a conflict with their class schedule.
    • We are asking you to avoid scheduling meetings, tests, quizzes, or in-class assignments on Election Day if possible.
  4. How do I know who to vote for?
    • You can learn who is on your ballot, who the write-in candidates are, and background information on candidates and ballot measures here. You can bring a paper list of your choices if you vote in person, but cell phone use may be restricted.