Studying Politics at SMC Has Inspired Me to Vote

by Sarah Day '22 | November 2, 2020

My name is Sarah Day, and I am a third-year Politics major and Gael Intern. Politics always interested me, mostly because of Legally Blonde. When I was 11 years old, I saw how Elle Woods utilized the skills she obtained through the friendships in her sorority, and I admired her ambition to attend Harvard Law School. Watching Elle use her knowledge to help someone wrongfully accused of a crime was more than inspiration; it was revolutionary to my 11-year-old self. From that moment on, I decided I would do whatever I could to help others, and I choose to do so by voting.

I have always thought voting was important, but I never really understood why. Right after my 18th birthday, I registered to vote and was very excited to participate in the 2018 midterm election; however, I could not grasp how my vote impacted anything or anyone until I learned more about the importance of voting in the Politics Department at Saint Mary’s over the last three years. Although all the classes focus on a variety of topics, a common denominator is the importance of voting to ensure that you are represented in your government. After learning how our election process works, the best ways to participate in our democracy, and how underrepresented groups might find representation in the United States Government, I have a much deeper understanding of the importance of voting.

I chose to be a Gael Intern to help other students stay informed about the presidential election and California propositions. The Gael Internship is an opportunity for students to learn about resources on and off campus to help educate voters on the upcoming election. It provides bipartisan support to the SMC community, with each intern having a list of students to continuously check on and remind about important dates. One of the best resources we, as Gael Interns, use is, which is a nonpartisan platform that helps students register to vote, stay informed on upcoming deadlines, and research the pros and cons of voting for each candidate and proposition.

Part of my job as a Gael Intern is to reach out to a list of students and be of any assistance I can. I email each student explaining how to navigate, along with information about upcoming deadlines (like the last day to register to vote by mail in California, which was October 19) or Saint Mary’s events (like the Library’s 2020 Election Workshop that happened on October 14). I have also Zoomed with students to help them register to vote and talk about ways to get involved. Because of COVID-19, it is more difficult to connect with our peers, but social media has become a necessary tool in staying connected and informed. Utilizing platforms like Instagram and Facebook has helped put a face to all of the informational emails, and created a community amongst the students who are interested in the election process. For the students that want to help, we encourage them to vote and to encourage their family and friends to register to vote, share information and resources, and politically participate in whatever ways they can, whether that be through donations, volunteering, or campaigning.

I have had a lot of fun being a Gael Intern and helping my peers participate in the upcoming presidential election. I love working with other Saint Mary’s students and finding new ways to keep voters engaged and excited about political participation. Professor Steve Woolpert has been an amazing advisor and has helped us help the Saint Mary’s community to go out and vote!