Dear GSAS students,

I’m writing on National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) to urge you to register to vote, to cast your ballot and, most of all, to get involved in civic life during this election season.

As some of you may know, in June 2017 I stood up in Boston’s Hynes Convention Center with immigrants from around the world as we raised our hands, took the oath, and became citizens of the United States. The presidential election this year will thus be the first in which I cast my vote. I will be proud to do so, and I hope you’ll join me. 

The first step for US citizens is to register to vote. The National Voter Registration Day website makes this easy to do. I encourage you to visit even if you are already registered, so that you can confirm your expected polling location.

Next, please be sure to follow through and cast your ballot. The Harvard Votes Challenge website provides links that allow you to find your polling place and learn how to vote by mail. Like the NVRD site, you can also check your registration status and register to vote.

Finally, please get involved in the electoral process whether you are eligible to vote or not. Join the Harvard Votes Challenge team or work in your own community to help mobilize others, staff polling places, or simply raise awareness.

Your voice matters. Your vote matters. Please join me and others throughout the Harvard community and participate in our democracy!

All best wishes,


Emma Dench

Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

National Voter Registration Day