Radford University Professors Present Election Panel to Students

Radford University professors hosted an election day panel of the logistics for the 2021 Governors Race.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Jessica Britton | jbritton8@radford.edu 

Just hours before the polls closed last Tuesday, Nov. 2, a group of Radford University professors hosted an election day panel of the logistics for the 2021 Governors Race.

Dr. John Brummette, who works in the School of Communication and has a background in social network analysis and communication information, presented social media data related to this year’s election, displaying words that came up the most on Twitter posts. 

The campaigns’ focus was mobilization on social media and had a slogan saying, “Make Sure to Get Out and Vote.”

The most prominent themes in his presentation were words like education, critical race theory, guns, voting rights, and economy. But, to the surprise of many, COVID-19 was not as prevalent in the discussions. 

Dr. Eric Williams, a member of the Criminal Justice department, spoke about how these local and state elections affect the Supreme Court cases. Two of Williams’s issues were abortion laws in Texas and states attempting to keep federal courts out of state abortion laws. If the Supreme Court votes in favor of this, many states will follow suit with Texas. 

Dr. Chapman Rackaway, who is the department chair and serves as a professor in Political Science, discussed the past voting behavior of Virginia and how it will help or inhibit predictions for the Nov. 3 decision. Rackaway noted that there had been many cases when it was a “too close to call” scenario. 

“We like to swap out our political leadership. When looking at a color-coded map of Virginia, even though the majority of counties are red in Virginia, it’s the county’s population that makes the difference,” Rackaway said.

Carrie Case, a statistics professor in the math department, spoke about how this election affects Radford University directly. Cases mentioned that the state-level policies decide tuition costs and teacher wages. 

“State-level elections affect our day-to-day lives, and it makes a huge difference. State and local elections also affect students directly,” Case said.

Case talked about a few questions: when and how voting is essential to the priorities and where the budget is going.

Case encouraged all students to vote and noted that their vote matters.