back to news Sept. 30, 2020

Putting 'Education for Citizenship' into action this election

On Oct. 1, Gretchen Ritter, executive dean and vice provost, sent the message below to College of Arts and Sciences students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Gretchen RitterDear Arts and Sciences students, faculty, staff and alumni,

I write to you today not only as your dean, but also as an American citizen, Ohioan and lifelong student of democracy. We are less than five weeks away from Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 3) — the time when we are called upon to take center stage in our democracy. For those of you who are U.S. citizens, I hope you will take a moment to participate. By casting our vote for candidates and issues, we are fulfilling our responsibility to be engaged citizens who shape our federal, state and local governments.

To that end, I have three simple asks of you:

  1. Verify your voter registration. In Ohio, the voter registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 5. You can check your registration, register or update your information at Out-of-state students, if they so choose, can register to vote in Ohio instead of their home state by using their local address. More information is available through the Office of Student Life.
  2. Consider serving as a poll worker. Across the country, there is an anticipated shortage of poll workers due to COVID-19. In Ohio, you can be eligible to serve as a poll worker if you are a resident of the county in which you plan to serve. More information is available at

    To address the demand for poll workers, Ohio State is permitting university employees to serve as poll workers during work hours on Nov. 3 without using vacation leave. Student employees and graduate associates are also encouraged to work with their supervisor to make arrangements for time off to serve as a poll worker, and I ask departments and offices to be as accommodating as possible so we can make this option widely available. More information is available through Human Resources.
  3. Vote! Develop your personal voting plan well in advance and take action on or before Election Day. In Ohio, absentee and early voting start on Tuesday, Oct. 6. If you are voting in person on Election Day, find your polling location online. You can also search for your sample ballot, so you can research candidates and issues in advance and cast an informed vote.

    I ask instructors and supervisors to be flexible and accommodating on Election Day so our students and employees (including student employees and graduate associates) can find time to vote amidst their academic, professional and personal obligations.

Thank you, all, for advancing our constitutional democracy by putting Ohio State’s motto — Education for Citizenship — into action.

Best wishes,

Gretchen Ritter
Executive Dean and Vice Provost
Professor of Political Science