By George Anton ’21 and Carl Justice ’21
Brophy is cancelling classes on Nov. 3 and is scheduling a Day of Democracy in its place. Robson Gymnasium also will be a polling location for Maricopa County on Election Day.
Students will also have the opportunity to participate in various democratic activities from home that day, or assist as clerks on campus and direct voters who show up.
The Robson Gymnasium will be open for in-person voting as well as a place for voters to drop off their ballots.
According to Mr. Pete Burr ’07, Director of Student Activities and co-organizer of Brophy Votes, there is not a great estimation as to how many voters will turn up at Brophy on Nov. 3. He noted that Maricopa County has told Brophy that they may end up having heavy traffic based on how people have voted in the past.
Students that remain home that day will be participating in one of a few various activities designed to engage them in democracy and voting.
Students will have the option to participate in the watching of a film along with a discussion after, a community art project to create a mural and lastly an interactive online tool that will allow students to see democracy in action.
It will be a virtual half-day for students so that they and their families can make the time to go and vote.
“The hope is that if you have family members that need to get to the polls, maybe you can watch younger siblings, drive people or do whatever you have to do to ensure there’s space for those in your household for those that can vote,” Mr. Burr said.
Leading up to Election Day, there have also been multiple activities for students including Presidential debate watch parties and presentations from the Young Democrats, Teenage Republicans and Theatre for Social Change.
“We really want to make spaces where people feel comfortable to share ideas and not engage in argumentative debate with one another,” said Ms. Kelly Guffey, who organized many of the events for October.
Ms. Guffey said that politics, especially during an election year, can make campus a more contentious place, which in turn leads to some students not wanting to speak openly and share their beliefs. She noted that it happened at Brophy in 2016.
Instead, the events planned are an attempt to help students learn about and discuss democracy and voting more generally.
Henry Roth ’22 is one of the students helping Ms. Guffey organize the election events.
Roth described that his love for politics and hearing others’ opinions drove him to become involved in the planning process for Brophy Votes. He originally had wanted to bring elected officials onto campus to speak, but could not due to school regulations.
For many past election years, Brophy has held a mock presidential election for students. That will also occur this year on Nov. 2.
One difference, however, is that this year students who want to vote in the mock election will have had to register to vote, which took place through a Google Form.
Mr. Burr said that the intent for registration was to make it as realistic as possible for students. The voter registration also requires students to answer if they have ever received a JUG, similar to how real voter registration asks individuals if they have been convicted of felonies or other crimes.
Students who have received JUGs will still be allowed to vote in the mock election.
“By putting that in there we wanted students to realize that it is a question that is asked, and hopefully it creates a conversation about if it’s necessarily fair given what we believe about reconciliation and forgiveness as a Jesuit community,” Mr. Burr said.
As of Oct. 21, only 336 of approximately 1400 students had registered to vote in the mock election with the registration deadline being Oct. 30.