1. Does the Associated Press have the authority to call a state since they are just a news source? How can people on both sides have confidence in the result?
The Associated Press does not have actual authority to determine the outcome of an election; they simply use various data sources to predict an outcome. After local results are verified by local election officials, the governor, secretary of state or other designated state official will certify the statewide results. Visit the Associated Press website to learn more about the role the organization plays in the election process. Additionally, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, wrote a good article on election security titled #Protect2020 Rumor vs. Reality, which may be helpful in understanding the election process.
2. Is there any truth to the information that there were more votes cast then registered voters in some states?
To date, there is very little evidence of voter fraud or election irregularities in the six states where lawsuits have been filed to consider these claims.
3. It has been mentioned several times that the presidential race is very close, but that it appears that Biden will win. It was also mentioned that Biden had 253 electoral votes. What about Trump?
At the time of the IUPUI Post-Election Town Hall on November 5, 2020, Trump had 214 electoral college votes. He could have still won the presidency, but he would have had to win 56 of the remaining 60 votes. The vote totals at the time of the town hall made that very unlikely, but not impossible. Since the IUPUI Post-Election Town Hall, Biden received additional electoral college votes and surpassed the necessary 270 electoral college votes required to win the presidential election.
4. What strategies can faculty use to deal with difficult classroom conversations related to the election, especially via Zoom, and how can we ensure Zoom is a safe space for these conversations?
With the heightened anxiety and tension surrounding the 2020 election, the IUPUI Center for Teaching and Learning developed a variety of resources to help faculty members handle classroom discussions about controversial topics, how to integrate relevant issues into their course curriculum and how to take care of themselves. Additionally, the Office of the Vice President for Information and Technology developed some "Do's and don'ts for safeguarding your Zoom meeting" that will help ensure Zoom is a safe space for critical conversations.
5. How can we stay engaged in the political process following the election and are there events that would let us continue these conversations?
The IUPUI Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is offering post-election small group discussions. For more information please contact Dan Griffith, director of conflict resolution and dialogue programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement offers a great deal of information on voter engagement, including ways to become civically informed and engaged.
6. How is the campus preparing for any unrest that might occur when results are announced?
The IU Police Department-IUPUI coordinates daily with its local, state and federal partners and is preparing as needed for any issues.
7. What does it say about our political process that so many people are expecting protests, and are we ready as a campus to respond?
The days both pre- and post-election have been and continue to be sensitive, but they are still very exciting. We should remember to be thankful for our democratic system and respect others during this process. While the threat level continues to remain low throughout our city and state, the campus is ready to respond accordingly to promote safety and provide forums for open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas, hallmarks of our American system of higher education.
8. What strategies can I use to ensure that conversations about politics, especially with people with opposing views, remain productive and meaningful?
It's important to have respect for others and their opinions and to accept that there are differences among all of us. Remember to breathe and recenter, which helps control stress, promotes relaxation and focus and helps you regain control. This article on handling anxiety around the election might be helpful as you work through what may be a challenging time.
In addition, the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute (IAHI) hosts the bi-monthly Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (HASS) Racial Justice Working Group. They offered a special session—Pedagogical Strategies in Difficult Times: Talking About the Upcoming Election in Our Classes—in which members of the group discussed pedagogical strategies in the context of the 2020 election.
Finally, IAHI also also offers helpful hints about having difficult conversions in the classroom that might provide additional insight.
9. Except for the hanging chad, I have never heard of lawsuits being filed around elections. Can someone on the panel talk about these lawsuits?
It is not uncommon for lawsuits to be filed post-election at the local, state, and federal levels. Each side has its own opinion, and it is within their right to file a lawsuit to contest the results. The lawsuits filed for the 2020 election are unlikely to change the election results.
10. What happened with the armed suspect IUPUI alert on the night of the election?
The IU Police Department-IUPUI had a swift response and the individual described to the police was located, but the item reported as a weapon was confirmed by campus police not to be a weapon of any type. To learn more about our campus police, receive safety tips, or how to report a crime or concern, visit the IUPD-IUPUI website.
11. I cannot talk about politics with my family, and with COVID-19, we are together all the time. It has been quite difficult. Do you have suggestions for how to handle feeling/being stuck with family right now?
The IUPUI Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion offers intergroup dialogues and workshops that strive to create new levels of understanding, relating and action, and can help you learn how to have those critical conversations. To learn more, visit the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion website.
12. Considering the legislative process, especially getting the legislature to approve the university's budget, what kind of role does the campus play in supporting candidates or aligning with one party or another, and does that help during the budget cycle?
Because the university is a public institution that receives funding from several groups, it must remain politically neutral. However, the university encourages faculty, staff, and students to be civically informed and engaged.