The Critical Role of Pennsylvania in This Election

Many Villanovans registered to vote in Pennsylvania due to the state's critical role in the election.

If you haven’t heard yet, here are the facts: if Trump wins Pennsylvania, it gives him an 84% chance of winning the election. If Biden wins Pennsylvania, it gives him a 94% chance of winning the election. Experts across the board agree: Pennsylvania was the most important state on the map for the election. 

Going to school here gave us a unique privilege to be among the most influential voters in arguably one of the most historical elections in our country’s history. We have heard over and over again: young voters will decide this election. 

Historically, Pennsylvania has voted blue, but in the 2016 election, the world watched as Pennyslavnnia secured its spot in a long list of states that Trump turned red. Before 2016, Pennsylvania had not swung red since putting George H.W. Bush in office in 1988. Trump claimed victory in Pennsylvania and states like it by securing the vote of the white demographic without a bachelor’s degree. A record 57% of this demographic in Pennsylvania showed up to vote for Trump, which inevitably led to his victory over Hillary Clinton. 

Recently, former Vice President Joe Biden has seemed to be gaining ground in white, affluent suburbs of Philadelphia — which include Delaware and Montgomery counties, where the majority of University students reside. This otherwise key demographic for Trump may help secure Biden’s win in the state. 

Another demographic which overwhelmingly favored Biden was young voters. According to Forbes, 63% of Americans aged 18-29 said they would definitely be voting in this year’s election, a large uptick from previous years. This strong voter turnout from young people would be most overwhelming in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Florida, to name a few. 

With all of this in mind, there has been a push among youth, especially on campus, to register to vote. Like many of my peers, my friends and I safely mailed in our registration to vote in early October. After checking our mailboxes daily for voter cards, checking our status online and calling the Delaware County Office of Voter Registration, as Monday rolled around, we were nonchalantly told that there was no record of our registration in the office. 

Simply put, our registration was “probably in a pile somewhere.” We were unapologetically told that there were no other options.

Of course, this deeply saddened me. It was a front seat look into the voter suppression plaguing in our country right now. Luckily, I had registered in early July, but my other friends weren’t so lucky. We should not have to work this hard to register to vote in such a key state.