Dear Members of the University Community:

On TV, the facts are presented, the conclusions neatly drawn, and all the loose ends wrapped up before the end of the show. This expectation of rapid closure, however, is not the way things generally happen—particularly for a close and consequential election.

For nearly a year, due to the pandemic, we have pressed ahead despite the thick fog of uncertainty. Then, this election arrives—and lingers, heightening the anxiety encasing our lives. Many of us are tired, but we must be patient.

The electoral process in our country includes discrete phases: voting, counting, reporting results and then certifying results. The goal is to count every vote to ensure the integrity of our democratic process.

The election that concluded yesterday—while still unresolved—is highly significant. We voted. We did this despite a resurgent pandemic, despite efforts to restrict voting, and despite massive levels of misinformation intended to sow discord and confusion. At a time when we could have excused ourselves as too afraid, too disenfranchised or too intimidated to vote—we did the opposite. We showed up in record numbers, with a voter participation rate projected to be the highest our nation has seen in more than 100 years.

Now that we have voted, however, we need our votes to matter. With the high stakes and the margins so tight, finishing this process the right way is more important than finishing things fast. And, unlike the pandemic, the uncertainty of this election’s outcome will only stretch for days or weeks—not months or years.

To everyone who voted: Thank you. Our democratic process hinges on having active, informed and engaged citizens. I am so proud of our Pitt community for playing a major role in this historic event. Together, as a community, we have the power to persevere in the face of the unknown, and to practice the very values that we hope will shape our nation’s future. 

So, let’s continue to support each other and give the process a chance to work. 


Patrick Gallagher