Upcoming election brings worry and concern to voters

By Anna Schmader
October 18, 2020

Vote illustration. Photo by Anna
Vote illustration. Photo by Anna

Voting by mail or in-person has been the hottest topic brewing for months. How citizens plan to vote is causing concern, and each day brings new worries. Stories of ballots being thrown away, miscounted or hidden in a secret room haven’t helped voters either.

Votespa.com gives a guided seven step-by-step process to complete your mail-in ballot. The first step is for voters to check if they are registered or if they need to register.

For some, this isn’t their first time sending it through the mail. Ashley Vagnoni, junior criminology major, said she’s voted in person and by mail in the past. This upcoming election, Vagnoni is voting in-person due to the many concerns. 

“The media’s depiction is concerning, especially as one’s vote might not be counted if they don’t include the secrecy envelope,” Vagnoni said. 

With the election creeping up fast, the worries get heavier making the choice of voting in-person difficult. When voting in person, all the usual rules apply: stay six feet apart, wear a mask, don’t gather in large groups and try to stay outside.

One big concern many don’t think about is the campaigning outside polling stations. Vagnoni said, “I’m a little nervous just because I know people like to campaign for candidates outside of the polling places and with this being a presidential election it might be more overwhelming.”

It’s difficult to decide which method of voting to choose. The chance of your vote being thrown away, hidden or not counted for partisan reasons invites doubt. An additional worry is the risk of contracting COVID-19 if voting in person. It’s a torn situation.

For first-time voters like Ashlee Hoffner, junior criminology major business management minor, it’s nerve-wracking, weird and worrisome. She’s afraid, as many other citizens are, that her vote won’t be counted.

Hoffner added onto this thought with “everything is crazy, there’s so much going on that I think it’ll affect how the election comes out.” 

Professor Jana Tidwell. Photo by Jana

It’s a different situation for Jana Tidwell, adjunct communication professor, who has always voted in-person every election since she was 18. She mentioned she feels equally as nervous as walking into the grocery store.

To vote is a privilege that should be taken advantage of. It’s important to lead by example because there are people who don’t have the voice or right to vote in the place they live.

For the people voting by mail, Tidwell said, “I’m happy there is another option. I would hate for people to feel to give up that opportunity to vote because they’re afraid of contracting the COVID-19.”

It’s disheartening to know the people who want to vote at polling stations can’t due to coronavirus. And it’s not any help the media outlets announce more stories about mailed ballots getting thrown away or miscounted. 

“The strongest and loudest way [to express your voice] is to vote,” Tidwell said, “especially as a woman, all the work that’s been done, I don’t take that lightly, I don’t think any one should take that lightly.” 

With this understanding, she’s a big proponent of voting. Encouraging others to go out and use the voice they’re privileged to have, she said.

Vagnoni also emphasized, “No matter your political affiliation, voting is your legal right and so many have fought to give us this right.”

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Anna Schmader

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