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Office of the President

October 26, 2020 - Preparing for a Historic Election

To: Campus Community
From: President Gayle Hutchinson

As Nov. 3 Election Day draws near, I recognize this election is truly like no other in our nation’s history. For one thing, more than 4.5 million Californians, a state record—and more than 61.4 million Americans, a national record—have already submitted mail-in ballots. Election Day still represents the day when individuals give voice to hopes and dreams for the future, choose from an array of proposed solutions, and pick those who will represent them in the halls of government. Locally, there are many important issues and seats to be decided. At the national level, political parties offer different visions and solutions, but can agree on one thing: This is one of the most important elections in our nation’s history.

If you’ve been on campus lately or follow Chico State on social media, you may have noticed the Ballot Box in front of the Bell Memorial Union, where ballots can be dropped off anytime between now and 8 pm Nov. 3. Chico State’s voter registration numbers were the highest we have ever achieved, and we are on top of the CSU in the Ballot Bowl’s competition for the percentage of registered students per capita. What this tells me is that we are truly cultivating civic-minded and engaged citizens who understand that what happens in politics affects their daily lives.

The vote is a powerful tool in driving change. Our responsibility is to be educated on the important issues before us, like social injustice, a changing climate that threatens our global society, equal access to health care, affordable housing, and so much more. Each of us develops our own opinions and then casts our vote, while encouraging others to do the same in support of their own opinions. In an era where civil discourse is sometimes abandoned in pursuit of individual passion, it is vital that we lean on one another for strength and cultivate our inner resilience.

At Chico State, we are firm in our commitment to supporting diverse and inclusive communities, where people are treated fairly and equitably regardless of individual differences. We stand by the values of reason, respect, and dignity in fulfilling our mission of serving, educating, and empowering students.

Although voting during a pandemic in a divisive political environment isn’t easy, we will get through this. Democracy is messy and complicated, and this year, the record number of early votes has added a new layer of complexity. States vary widely on when and how they will tally mail-in ballots. And, in the event of a closely contested race, it is possible that we will not have the results of the presidential race—and others—on election night or, in the worst-case scenarios, for weeks.

Anyone feeling anxious, fearful, or concerned right now should reach out to faculty and staff for assistance or search the following websites for resources that support students, staff, and faculty.