Exercising her civic duty of voting in an off-year election, Penn President Amy Gutmann cast her vote at Vance Hall just before 6 p.m., one of thousands of post-work voters throughout the city. On the ballot were Philadelphia’s mayoral seat along with measures on city fiscal spending and various elected officials, including City Council-at-large seats, and various judgeships. Gutmann and all other city residents used new voting machines, the ExpressVote XL, which were introduced to the public at demonstrations earlier in the month at sites around the city.
While voter turnout in an off-year election is expected to be, and is historically, low, it’s not for lack of effort by Penn Leads the Vote (PLTV). Gutmann praised the year-round campus work of PLTV on National Voter Registration Day earlier this fall, where volunteers registered first-time voters, informed students about their polling place, and encouraged the entire Penn community to embrace a civic-minded identity. Their efforts from previous voter registration day events were measured, with astounding results: On-campus voting increased by nearly 400% compared to the fall of 2015. On Election Day, everyone’s vote, from the president of Penn to a first-year student voting in their first-ever election, is rendered equal, and equally powerful.