With the November election just over a month away, IU Libraries wants to help inform voters before they cast their ballots. In addition to virtual drop-in hours for people who need help registering to vote, IU Libraries is offering several resources and events focused on voter literacy.
The 2020 election guide provides comprehensive information about national, state and local elections, and also connects people to resources about candidates. Emily Alford, IU Libraries' head of government information, maps and microfilm services, said it's important that people research different candidates and the issues.
"There's so much promotion around registration and the mechanics of voting, but there seems to be less of a push to encourage students to 'vote smart' and really know why they are making the decisions they are making," Alford said. "I think the more people understand how political issues and particular candidates' platforms will affect their lives, the more confident voters will feel."
Get help navigating the voter registration process through virtual drop-in hours via Zoom from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday . The registration assistance will continue through Oct. 5, when IU Libraries will switch to voting literacy drop-in hours during those same times. People can enter a Zoom room and be guided through resources to help them find out where a candidate stands on particular issues.
IU Libraries will also host a series of "Be an informed voter!" virtual democracy gatherings:
- Defining Democracy: The Responsibility of Civic Engagement, at 7 p.m. Sept. 21, will feature IU Libraries research assistants; Martin Law, BLM B-town Core Council member; and Ann Birch, president of the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe.
- The Road to the White House: The History of United States Presidential Elections, at 7 p.m. Oct. 7,. includes IU Libraries research assistants and Gerald Wright, professor of political science in the College of Arts and Sciences.
- Bold Ballots: Keys to Voting with Confidence, at 7 p.m. Oct. 20, will include information from research assistants and Alford.
- No Deadline for Democracy: A Citizen's Role after Election Day, at 7 p.m. Nov. 11, will once again feature Law and Birch.
Alford said it's important for people to remain civically engaged after they cast a ballot, which is why IU Libraries will host a post-election event as part of the series.
"After an election, regardless of how things go down, everyone seems to look around and say 'Now what?" she said. "We really want to talk about the ways the public, specifically undergrad students, can remain engaged in the political and civic atmospheres -- how to monitor legislation, how and when to contact representatives, how to get involved on the local level."
IU Libraries also maintains a democracy guide that provides information about how people can remain involved in national, state and local politics.