Dukes Vote needs you! Voting is one of the most important ways to participate in our democracy. Your voice and your vote matter in elections and beyond. Be sure to check your voter registration and vote in the locality where you are registered! Check your Virginia voter registration here. How you can vote:

  • Vote in-person on Election Day, November 3, 2020.
  • Vote early in-person at the local voter registration office where you are registered. For a list of offices in Virginia localities, click here. October 24 is National Vote Early Day. If you are registered to vote in Harrisonburg, meet us on the steps of Wilson at 1 pm and we'll walk to City Hall at 409 S. Main Street and vote together!
  • If you're waiting for an absentee ballot, keep checking your mailbox. Track your Virginia absentee ballot here. If you don't receive your ballot by 10/27, call or text 1-866-OUR-VOTE for help
  • If you already voted, thank you for being a voter! We need help with getting out the vote. Sign up here to volunteer.

More information about voting and frequently asked questions can be found in our Voting FAQs or contact us at civic@jmu.edu.

In this Guide:
Town Halls

JMU Civic and Dukes Vote are collaborating on virtual programs to ensure you can make informed decisions in the 2020 Elections. We will have regular town halls with candidates from different political parties and at all levels of government broadcast on our Facebook page @JMUCivic and posted on our YouTube channel. We are also producing a non-partisan voter education guide with information on candidates.

Upcoming Town Halls

Tuesday, October 27, 7 p.m.: Facebook Live with Dr. Daniel Gade, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate representing Virginia.

Previous Town Halls

Dr. Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate

Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker, Green Party Presidential Ticket

Monday, October 12: Town Hall with former VA Governor Terry McAuliffe, representing Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign.

Dr. Daniel Gade, Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Virginia

Congressman Ben Cline (VA 6th District)

Nick Betts, Democratic Candidate for Congress (VA 6th District)

Harrisonburg City Council Candidates Town Hall

2020 Nonpartisan Voter Guides

Download the comprehensive 2020 Voter Education Guide here or by race below.


Read about the candidates for U.S. President: President Donald Trump (R-Incumbent), Joe Biden (D), Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian) and Howie Hawkins (Green Party).


Read about the candidates for U.S. Senate to represent Virginia: Senator Mark Warner (D-Incumbent) and Dr. Daniel Gade (R).


Read about the candidates for U.S. House of Representatives for Virginia's Sixth District: Rep. Ben Cline (R-Incumbent) and Nicholas Betts (D).


Read about the candidates for Harrisonburg City Council: Laura Dent (D), Charles Hendricks (D), George Hirschmann (I, Incumbent), Kathleen Kelley (R), and Deanna Reed (D, Incumbent).


Read about the candidates for Harrisonburg City Public School Board: Deb Fitzgerald, Irvin Peckham, Kaylene Seigle, and Nick Swayne.



Redistricting reform is on the ballot in Virginia this year. Read all about Amendment One in this primer by our Campus Election Engagement Project Democracy Fellow Drew Persinger (JMU '21, Political Science).

Post-Election Programming

Click here for our Guide to Facilitating Election Conversations.

Election Day Detox, Wednesday, 11/4 at 11:00 a.m. and Thursday, November 5 at 1:00 p.m.

THRIVE, the Honors College, and the Center for Multicultural Student Success (CMSS) in collaboration with The ARROW Project, a non-profit metal health organization based in Staunton, will provide students with a space to discuss and process the outcome of the election, how that outcome is/can/will affect them, as well as engage students in a facilitated dialogue. The goal is to provide students with an authentic and respectful platform to explore their feelings and reactions to the election. The ARROW Project will be providing clinicians to facilitate these dialogues, as we believe that students can show up most authentically when processing with an individual who is not affiliated with the University. The groups are scheduled to run on Wednesday, November 4, at 11:00 a.m., and Thursday, November 5, at 1:00 p.m. This space will be available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Post-election Analysis Panel Discussion, Wednesday, 11/4 at 12:00 p.m.

Hosted by the College of Arts & Letters and the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement

Please join College of Arts and Letters faculty for a discussion of the 2020 election. The panelists will provide historical and comparative context for the election, discuss preliminary election results, and address a range of issues including political advertising, the role of the media, and the role of race and gender. Panelists:

  • Ryan Alessi, Assistant Professor, School of Media Arts & Design
  • Tim LaPira, Professor, Political Science
  • Dan Schill, Associate Professor, School of Communication Studies
  • Kristin Wylie, Associate Professor, Political Science

Processing Election Emotions, Wednesday, 11/4 at 4:00 p.m.

Did the elections have you feeling anxious, fatigued, worried, angry or hopeful? How can we process our election emotions? The panelists will provide expertise and foster discussion around what drives election emotions and what we can do to cope. Register here. Panelists:

  • Dr. Benjamin Blankenship, assistant professor of Psychology
  • Dr. Michele Kielty, professor of Graduate Psychology and Director of School Counseling Program
  • Dr. Kala Melchiori, assistant professor of Psychology

Global Perspectives on the U.S. Elections, Wednesday, 11/11 at 12 p.m.

Hosted by the College of Arts & Letters and the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement

Please join College of Arts and Letters faculty for a discussion of global perspectives on the U.S. elections. The panelists will share how the world is viewing U.S. elections, highlight how global perspectives can shed light on this moment in American politics, and discuss the potential foreign policy implications of the election.

Moving Forward as a "Purple" Campus: How do we explore the concerns and humanity behind others' political views? 

Co-facilitated by Institute of Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue student facilitators, and student leaders in Community Service-Learning. (Online Zoom conversations with a brief video)

  • Wednesday, November 4, 7-8:15 p.m.
  • Friday, November  6, 2-3:15 p.m.
  • Monday, November  9, 7-8:15 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 12, 7-8:15 p.m.

For more information contact Lori Britt at brittll@jmu.edu.

JMU and the First-Amendment: Making sense of campus free speech in an era of political divisiveness.

Online Zoom Conversations moderated by student facilitators of the Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue.

  • Monday, November 16, 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 17, 7-8:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Lori Britt, brittll@jmu.edu.

Voter Vids

Why are you a voter? What are you passionate about and want to see changed in your community? Submit a short video from your phone or creative media about why you're a voter here!

Debate Watch Parties


  • September 29, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET: First Presidential Debate.
    1. Read the First Presidential Debate Primer by students in Hacking4Democracy Elections 2020 course.
    2. Join in our Debate Watch parties on Discord.
    3. Join the conversation on social media using #JMUDebateWatch and #DukesVote.
  • October 15, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET: Second Presidential Debate.
  • October 22, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET: Third Presidential Debate.
    1. Read the Final Presidential Debate Primer by students in Hacking4Democracy Elections 2020 course.
    2. Join in our Debate Watch parties on Discord.
    3. Join the conversation on social media using #JMUDebateWatch and #DukesVote.


  • October 7, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET: Vice-Presidential Debate. Join in our Debate Watch parties on Discord.
  • Read the VP Debate Primer by students in Hacking4Democracy Elections 2020 course.
  • Join the conversation on social media using #JMUDebateWatch and #DukesVote.
Election Podcasts

Several scholars and experts have joined us on our podcast Democracy Matters to discuss election-related issues. Highlights include: 

Lisanby Museum Virtual Voting Rights Exhibit

benshahn_header.pngThe Lisanby Museum at JMU has a new virtual exhibit on voting rights. The featured works by Ben Shahn, a prolific American artist who believed strongly in civic responsibility and art as activism, are drawn from the Madison Art Collection’s extensive Shahn holdings.

Dr. Laura Katzman, Professor of Art History at the JMU School of Art, Design and Art History, provided scholarly text on the artist and individual works.

Faculty: Consider using class time to explore a few of the images. Ask for student responses to the images and how their reactions may relate to feelings or experiences with the 2020 elections.

Text Messaging Canvas

Outvote.pngJoin JMU Civic & Dukes Vote as we text thousands of students and friends to help them register and vote safely this fall! You’ll use Outvote, a relational organizing app, to text your contacts. We've made it easy with pre-set nonpartisan messages and links. Click here to download instructions.

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