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College Republicans, University Democrats plan socially distanced viewing parties for Election Night

Despite the pandemic, many clubs and organizations at the University are still trying to provide students with a safe environment to watch the election

College Republicans and University Democrats are planning on hosting viewing parties to watch the outcome of the 2020 elections. These clubs have hosted larger, in-person election watch parties in previous years, but as a result of University regulations, the parties this year will be smaller and socially distanced.

Kiera Goddu, UDems president and fourth-year College student, said that UDems usually has a large election watch party with around 40 people present.

“Usually for election watch we would rent out a space at a local restaurant or bar that had plenty of televisions so that we could have a couple of different sources of election coverage on for UDems to get updates on different races,” Goddu said.

Instead of renting out a space, UDems is planning to have an outdoor, socially distanced event for dues-paying members. The student group decided to do this because they believe it is safer to do so given the pandemic. 

According to Goddu, UDems plans to watch the news coverage of the elections on the Lawn outside Room 9. UDems stated that they will be monitoring groups of people at the event and won’t allow groups of more than 10 people to gather.

Garrett Scocos, vice president of operations for the College Republicans and fourth-year College student, said that, like UDems, CRs have also made changes to the plans for their viewing party.

“In previous years, the College Republicans have hosted an Election Day party for its members on a much larger scale than what we will be doing this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Scocos said.

College Republicans is having several of their members host viewing parties in their own houses and apartments. Members who arrive will be required to wear masks and remain socially distanced from each other. There will also be a limit of 10 attendees per residence.

“This way we can maximize the number of members that can attend an election viewing party while keeping everybody as safe as possible,” Scocos said.

Goddu said that viewing parties are important for UDems, as it allows members to see the impact of their work.

“For our members, it provides a real sense of community that we get to share the ups and downs of updates as they come in,” Goddu said.

The active students in these organizations put significant amounts of time into influencing the local elections through phone banking, canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts.

UDems has been focusing their efforts on supporting Democratic candidate Dr. Cameron Webb in the congressional election in Virginia’s Fifth District, which is expected to be a very close race between Webb and Republican candidate Bob Good.

College Republicans has been hosting events over Zoom with candidates for numerous offices in Virginia, including the Republican candidate for Virginia’s Second Congressional District, Scott Taylor, and Daniel Gade, the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Warner in VA-07.

“UDems members put in hours of work every election cycle, and these election watch parties allow us to see the results of all of that hard work,” Goddu said. “It was especially great last year when we saw General Assembly races we worked on flip from Republican to Democrat and both of the houses of the General Assembly became Democratically controlled.”

Goddu expects UDems members to use this viewing party as a way to recognize the work its members have done throughout this election cycle. 

“The goal of these events is to celebrate our work and our wins,” Goddu said. “There isn’t a requirement that people be in UDems to attend, but for the most part, it’s active UDems members who show up.”

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