Stanford gears up for Democracy Day
Classes will not be held on Nov. 8 to encourage the Stanford community to vote in the midterm elections and participate in election-related events and programming.
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters across Stanford and the nation will head to the polls to cast their votes in the 2022 midterm elections. Democracy Day, as it’s known at Stanford, is a university-recognized holiday; no classes will be held and the Stanford community is encouraged to participate in numerous events designed to support civic engagement.
“Each person’s vote has dramatic implications at every level of government,” said Christopher Maximos, ’23, chair of Stanford in Government and a member of the Democracy Day coordinating committee. “We want to do whatever is possible to make Stanford a place for active and engaged citizens.”
Democracy Day was founded in 2021 by Sean Casey, ’22, and Jonathan Lipman, ’22, with the goal of engaging students from all corners of the campus. Democracy Day organizers – in partnership with campus groups like Stanford in Government, StanfordVotes, and the Haas Center for Public Service – have led a months-long, campus-wide campaign to encourage voters to heed their civic duty this election day. This effort builds upon nearly five years of civic momentum at Stanford, as the university has grown from one of the country’s least civically engaged campuses to a national leader. According to StanfordVotes, 91% of registered students cast a ballot in 2020. Student leaders hope to see similar rates of engagement in the midterms, which tend to have lower turnout.
Since August, StanfordVotes, led by chair Cameron Lange, ’24, has registered more than 2,400 new Stanford voters and prepared a 2022 midterm elections voter guide for all 50 states. It’s also produced an Instagram spotlight series highlighting students, alumni, and key voting information, and partnered with organizations across campus, like Stanford Athletics, Residential & Dining Enterprises, and Approaching Stanford, to hold tabling information events.
Stanford in Government recently hosted author, activist, and former U.S. presidential candidate Marianne Williamson to discuss her experience running for office and her view of the challenges facing American democracy. And on Thursday, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is the Tad and Dianne Taube director of the Hoover Institution and a senior fellow on public policy, will be in conversation with Adam Bonica, associate professor of political science, to discuss how students can lead a life of civic purpose.
This year, Democracy Day will be filled with numerous election-related events and programs for the Stanford community.
“We have a tightly packed schedule,” said Liana Keesing, ’23, a member of the Democracy Day coordinating committee and former co-director of StanfordVotes. “Throughout the day there will be a blend of academic programming and social events designed to engage people with the democratic process.”
In the morning, Stanford in Government will host a virtual talk with U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper laying out his hopes for the next generation of public service leaders, and the Center for Deliberative Democracy will host “Donuts and Democracy” for students to discuss campus reform and social media.
All students are invited to “Dine & Dialogue,” during which Stanford faculty will host small group conversations about building a culture of citizenship within the University. The event will take place at dining halls across campus from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and again from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Former U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang will engage in a keynote conversation with Professor Adam Bonica about Yang’s journey into public service and what he sees as the greatest challenges and opportunities for American democracy. The event will take place at 2 p.m. at Dinkelspiel Auditorium and is open to all members of the Stanford community. A reservation is required to attend. Yang’s address will be followed by a student-led discussion in Canfield Courtyard through the Center for Ethics in Society.
“All Vote No Play” is an event in collaboration with the d.school and Stanford Athletics that will feature a panel of student-athlete leaders. Throughout the day there will also be programming about careers at the intersection of STEM and public service. In the evening, the “Camera as Witness” program will screen a documentary about U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee. There will also be a dialogue with elected student government leaders.
Other events include the “Party at the Polls” at 3:30 p.m. on White Plaza. The free event is open to the entire campus community and will include free food and activities. At 7 p.m., students are invited to watch election returns at the “Election Night Watch Party” at The Arbor and Treehouse. A full schedule of events is available at democracyday.stanford.edu.
Preparing to vote
There’s lots of information and resources available to help prepare voters for election day. Anyone can check their voter registration status at stanfordvotes.org/registration.
Students can request an absentee ballot from any state at studentvote.org. Undergraduates should have their absentee ballot sent to the Tresidder Package Center using the following mailing address:
First Name (Middle Name/Initial) Last Name
459 Lagunita Drive
c/o Tresidder Package Center
Stanford, CA 94305
Residents of EVGR B, C, and D should use the address format shown on the R&DE website for voter registration:
Jane Stanford – jstanford
123 Campus Drive
Stanford, CA 94305
Voters who are registered in Santa Clara County can vote on campus at the Oak Lounge at Tresidder Union. Polls will be open from Nov. 5-7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.