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2020 Election Events & Resources

November 1, 2020

Dear Students and Colleagues:

As we are sure you’re already aware, Tuesday, November 3, 2020 is a US Presidential Election. There are also numerous other Federal, State, and Local candidates and measures on the ballot. Participating in an election is one of the most powerful ways an eligible voter can be civically engaged. We strongly encourage all eligible members of our campus community to register, get informed about candidates and issues, and vote!

U.S. politics can be contentious and there is broad acknowledgement that this year’s campaigns, debates, news coverage, and even day-to-day interactions among people with different political views have been particularly volatile. Virtually every voter feels that there is ‘a lot on the line’ in this election, and the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this sentiment. 

We have heard from many students and communities that they are anxious about the outcomes of this election and its potential impacts to themselves and their loved ones. As members of the largest and most diverse generation in the country’s history, today’s traditional college-aged students are poised to lead decision-making and the direction of our country ( But your voice will only be heard if you get involved!

1. If you are eligible, register and vote!

2. If you are seeking community and support, 
check out our virtual events and resources.


Election Resources graphic

Visit Virtual Events and Resources for more information. 


Whether you are in California or elsewhere in the world, you can find information about voter registration at and voting resources and information at, including: 

  • Common Voting and Election Terms
  • Presidential Election Process
  • How, Where, and When to Vote
  • Voting and Election Laws and History

It is particularly important that you find your local election office to learn about polling locations, in-person registrations, and other voting issues that vary by locality.  

Even if you aren’t yet registered to vote, it might not be too late. For instance, polling places in Santa Barbara County will be available for three days prior to and on Election Day and will offer same-day registration and voting.


We have all been living for months in a context of great uncertainty and many of us are experiencing unusually high levels of stress. This is a natural response to our environment. All of us should try to take extra care in how we treat ourselves and others. Empathy – the act of listening deeply to others, considering others’ experiences and perspectives, and responding with compassion – is something that we can practice not just with other people, but with ourselves. Whether you feel fear, joy, anger, apathy, or any other emotion, it is understandable.

If you are looking for community and support...

Many UCSB offices are hosting virtual spaces and virtual events where our community can gather after the election to find community and process emotions (again, regardless of the result of the election). Take some time to review UCSB Virtual Events and Support Resources and make a plan of how you will show up to care for yourself and your community following the election.


We also want to let you know that we may not learn who has been elected President on election night. Due to a variety of circumstances unique to this year’s election, it may take additional time to reach a final tally – especially if the tentative results indicate a very close race. Furthermore, the apparent outcome may change over the period of time that the ballots are being counted. Regardless of which party or candidate you are supporting, this could lead to increased anxiety as we await the results.


Please take time to plan in advance how you can best support yourself and others during a period of uncertainty and be sure to explore the credible and official information sources linked in this site for updates.


We understand that many of our students, staff, and faculty members are not eligible to vote for a variety of reasons (for instance, permanent legal residents, undocumented students, international students cannot vote in U.S. elections). This can be challenging. For instance, you might feel powerless to express your perspective in an election that will impact you directly or you might be confused or overwhelmed by the US’ election process or the news surrounding it. 

If you aren't eligible to vote...

Keep in mind that you are still an important member of our campus community and that you can express your voice through other means. For example, by talking about issues with friends who are eligible to vote, you can help inform the US electorate by sharing your perspective. You are also welcome to participate in the election-related events and utilize support services regardless of your eligibility to vote.


There has been speculation about possible protests following Election Day and following all possible election results. UC Santa Barbara recognizes the rights of freedom of expression afforded to our community members by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (

As always, our primary concern is that students, staff and faculty members, and our broader campus community are physically safe. For more information about Freedom of Expression and Protests, visit the Dean of Students website

If you choose to participate in protests...

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in cases in Isla Vista and throughout our county in recent weeks, our continued vigilance is critical to ensure that protests don’t contribute to the spread of the disease. The County of Santa Barbara has clarified that outdoor protests are permitted when physical distancing of six feet is maintained. Face coverings should be worn at all times when in public, except where expressly exempted. Please see our overview of Safer Protests in the Age of COVID-19 for additional information.

Thank you, Gauchos Vote Coalition!

We wish to express our gratitude to all of the organizations and individuals that have provided nonpartisan voter registration efforts and election information for our campus community including (but not limited to) the UCSB Gauchos Vote Coalition

Follow the GVC on Instagram @gauchosvote!

To be clear, our values aren’t political or partisan. The rights, freedoms, wellbeing, and livelihood of our students (and staff and faculty colleagues) are of paramount importance. Always. Regardless of the election results for any role or measure, the University remains committed to the UC Principles Against Intolerance and our campus will continue to champion our Principles of Community

We affirm the intrinsic dignity in each of us…
We seek to cultivate understanding among the diverse parts of our whole… 
We believe in every individual's right to freedom of expression, including the ability to disagree with and/or counter another's point of view… 
We hold one another accountable to the highest standards of civility, respect, and decency in all of our interactions…
We do not tolerate acts of bigotry, harassment, or other harm to individuals… 
We celebrate our differences and recognize and honor diversity as vital to the excellence of our University. (UCSB Principles of Community)

Regardless of the outcomes of the election, we remain steadfastly committed to supporting your academic success and your personal wellbeing and safety at UC Santa Barbara. We hope that you will make full use of the information and resources available to you through UCSB. 


Margaret Klawunn and the Student Affairs Executive Team
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Angela Andrade
Dean of Student Wellness

Katya Armistead

Assistant Vice Chancellor/Dean of Student Life

Rachel Arriaga

Senior Analyst, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Miles Ashlock

Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Michael Miller
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Enrollment Services

Lupe Navarro-Garcia

Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Academic Support Services

Alex Ramos

CFO/Executive Director, Resource Planning, Sustainability, Capital Planning

Joe Sabado
Associate CIO/Executive Director, Student Information Systems & Technology


Additional Information and Resources

Vote You Have the Power

Voter Information

Elections cover much more than the Presidency. For example, voters registered in Isla Vista will voice their preferences for US Representative in Congress, California State Senate and State Assembly, education leaders, and numerous state and local measures.  

Not registered yet? Polling Places in Santa Barbara County will be available for three days prior to and on Election Day and will offer same-day registration and voting. 

Election Events and Resources

Virtual Events and Support Resources at UC Santa Barbara

Through cross-departmental collaboration, Student Affairs and our partners are providing virtual spaces for students (and staff) to process, find support, and decompress with news around the election. 

Thank you to staff in EOP, MCC, RCSGD, SEAL/OSL, USS, and WGSE for spearheading and coordinating these efforts. 

Picture of protesters wearing face coverings for COVID-19

Safer Protest in the Age of COVID-19

UC Santa Barbara recognizes the rights of freedom of expression afforded to our community members by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the County of Santa Barbara has clarified that outdoor protests are permitted when physical distancing of six feet is maintained. Face coverings should be worn at all times when in public, except where expressly exempted.