What do students think about voting in the presidential election?

Students at MEC

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Professor Ayana Kone has done amazing engaging experiential learning work both in and outside of her classroom. Last year with fellow colleagues she helped to produce an entrepreneur master class.

More recently she asked her students about their Presidential election voting experience. The response was as diverse as the students themselves. Some were influenced by parents, some recent civic events, and others were not influenced at all. Some voted, others did’nt but those in the brief notes below shared their authentic thoughts in their authentic voices. The names have been extracted but the words are verbatim.

Assignment Question from Professor Kone: 

Please write about your voting experience this year. Let me know if you did or not. If you did or didn’t I want to know about it. Let me know if it was early, in person, via absentee ballot. Let me know if it was quick or line was long. Any little thing you can think of, to remember this year by.

  • “Honestly, Professor, I am registered to vote . However, I did not vote. Even though I am aware that it is important to vote because each one counts. I don’t do not follow politics. Therefore I feel like it was a waste of my time going to vote because I don’t have the full knowledge of everything, and I did not make time to research information.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “This year I didn’t vote. The reason why I didn’t vote is that I feel there will be no change no matter who will be sitting in the white house. In my opinion, every person who wants to be president always says there will be change but I feel the system is still the same. Immigrants kids being pulled away from their family and African Americans still fighting for racial equality. I feel that every president is only worried about money and only about money. I feel every white man who is trying to run for this country are always racist and always thinking about helping white rich people that benefits them. ( not trying to be rude but that’s how I feel.”Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Ever since I was old enough to vote, I have been invested in our political landscape. However, for years I was very skeptical about democracy in America; in the community where I was raised, situations didn’t improve whether there was a Democrat or Republican in office. I didn’t see more job opportunities arise when a president was sworn in, even if their stance was based on creating more jobs for the disenfranchised. When presidential candidates spoke on equity and reform of all sorts for “Black and Brown People”, my community stayed the same. Meaning there were no resources and/or outlets for people in my neighborhood to benefit from. I see the government constantly bail out banks and the wealthy when they made crucial mistakes with citizens’ hard earned money without receiving penalties. I also learned more about paying for political influence—corporations/Banks hire lobbyist who get paid to track down congressmen to offer them millions of dollars for their reelection campaign’s contributions if they pass laws that benefit the wealthy. Meanwhile there are zero lobbyists advocating for the other 98% of America. Even with all of this being the case I try to stay positive and remember there was a time in history when people who look like me didn’t have a voice. Initially, I tried to do an absentee ballot but every time I checked my ballot’s progress I wasn’t able to see if my vote was counted. It was listed as out for delivery, even though I had already received it and mailed it back. So the day of the election I decided to go to my polling station to make sure my vote was counted. I got there around 8:30 and I left at 10. All in all, I spent about an hour and a half waiting to vote. The first hour of my wait was outside in the cold. Luckily the rain from the day before was well gone. It was sunny but chilly. The line was wrapped around a corner two blocks away from the polling station. I noticed that a lot of people had shown up in pairs or small groups. People were giving each other about 6 feet of space thankfully. When I left, the line was substantially shorter than when I had arrived. The one thing I will remember about this election is the turn out—the amount of people on line to vote was amazing and greater than any year I have seen.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Unfortunately, I am only a Permanent Resident which does not allow me the right to vote or volunteer on election day. I however was fastened to my phone to check on the ballot counting updates through election week. Through television reporting I also learned a lot about election processes and the flaws that exist within this American constitution and democracy. Being from what is classed as a third world or developing country, this 2020 election cycle reminded me of Jamaica’s election of old where the country was deeply divided by political tribalism and differences were settled by threat of or actual violence.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Did you vote or not? No, I did not vote today because I am not a citizen. Did you use the early voting week?No, but I have a friend who did. She went to the Board of Elections, Adam Street.  Did you have a good or negative experience? She said the experience was good. She was in and out within 15 mins.Do you feel like your vote mattered?  If I was able to vote and I did. I know it matters for me to exercise my civic duty and it wouldn’t matter.  Why or why not?  I have two (2) answers. I believe it matters because as a citizen it’s our civic study to exercise our freedom of vote. Stand for a cause and believe in it and fight for it and why I don’t think it would matter is that in New York State, the majority of voters are Democrats and I am or would be voting as a Democrat.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Yes, I voted for the first time this year , and it really felt good. My parents made sure I did it this time around. No, I didn’t use the early voting week, and in term of if my voting mattered, I honestly feel that nobodies vote actually matter but we do it just good about whoever becomes our president.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “No I did not vote in the election that was held on November 3, 2020, neither did I use the the early voting week. Because I never voted in any election in my life time, I did not have any bad experience. The only pressure I was facing relating to the election was that I  did not want Trump to be re-elected as President again. My reason for this is because I  do not believe Donald Trump fits the criteria to be a good leader in a sense where people in the United States can feel secure and cared for as a whole.  Lastly, I  do feel like my vote would have mattered, because every votes counts and it can make a difference in terms of Trump not being re-elected again. I am not a citizen yet.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Write your experience or lack of it in your own way on voting day November 3, 2020.This election was filled with much anticipation, anxiety, and enthusiastic emotion for the most part. I knew that voting was a must if our voices must be heard. Our actions can speak loud and clear too. This past election was extremely unusual because of the President and the current administration’s lack of diplomacy, unadulterated ignorance, childish behavior, lack of respect for anyone, incompetence, lack of leadership, lackadaisical attitude towards other people, unsympathetic for the loss of life especially in this COVID 19 Pandemic, and the list goes on Andon. Yes, my family and I voted. It seemed like forever that the day would finally come. However long the wait, it was well worth it. We did not even have to wait on long lines as expected. As a matter of fact, we did not wait very long at all. Very few people were there, and it could have been people coming from work going to vote. We are simply elated for the Biden and Harris Team. We applaud and congratulate them on this historic accomplishment. 9) “No, we did not use the early voting period although we had the opportunity to do so. With all the excitement, we wanted to keep the tradition of voting on Election day as our custom, despite the COVID 19 Pandemic and social distancing. My experience during the time leading up to November 3, 2020 was very positive. I was always confident that we would have a new President Elect and Vice President Elect who are articulate, confident and people who are not self-centered and controlling. An Administration that is for the people and not concerned about friends and the Rich and Famous .Yes, I strongly feel my vote mattered; not just for me but all who made their mark and made a difference on November 3, 2020 or the early voters. If we do not vote as a people, then our voices will not be heard, and we will forever be suppressed. There are so many who are disenfranchised that it is a disgrace to our democracy in this day and modern times we are living in. This is absolutely an embarrassment to this great country, the United States of America. May God bless us all.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I voted and I am happy with the results of the election. I did not use the early week since I was working the day of, and the lines would wrap around the block. Surprisingly, on election day, the lines weren’t too long, thanks to the early voting week. I feel like every vote counts even if there’s an electoral vote. Everyone should appreciate their voting rights and take part in the elections, because everyone’s voice needs to be heard.  This year I voted for the first time seeing that I became a citizen of the United States last year. I voted for on election day and it was a very good experience. There were no long lines and the election workers explain the process quite clearly. Yes, I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It was truly a thrilling experience that my vote would be counted also, to be apart of history.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I did vote this year. As of this year, I have voted in every election since I have turned 18. I voted early and it was very unique. My partner and I showed up to the polls, were asked if we were feeling sick, and after saying no we were handed hand sanitizing wipes. From there we were told to go to a table where they would scan our voting cards. The floor had stickers all over the place reminding us to stay 6 feet apart. We were handed pens that we were told to either keep or throw in the garbage (I kept it because it was a stylus too! que fancy!) The voting location was held in Our Lady of Perpetual Help rather than the public school where it usually is. I was very surprised to see how empty it was. You would think that due to the pandemic more people would vote early but I guess not.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I did go around my neighborhood of Sunset Park putting up signs letting people know that early voting started on October 24th along with the website to find where their assigned poll, in English and  Spanish. If I knew anyone fluent in Cantonese I would have done it in 3! I feel that not enough people knew about it especially because I live in an area that has a lot of elderly people who may not have the resources to find this information out.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “2020 election experience It was nice to get my voice heard,” Hill said. “That was my first time voting in anything, so I’m glad I got a chance to vote. “This is my first time ever voting in an election and already I feel that this will be an experience I will never forget. I have been going over the issues looking at all the candidates. I have looked at their records and I am sure I am making the best decision. I am voting with my head not with my heart. Something I hope my peers will also do. I personally do not understand how anyone could stay at home and not vote. I think what’s even more overwhelming, is the fear: The fear of what is yet to come if I don’t vote. The fear of the unknown. The fear of who could run our country keeps me up at night. The fear of young people feeling hopeless so they don’t go vote scares me. Then the visceral hate people have for African Americans. But despite my fears I understand voting is a must. There are many reasons you should vote. America is still a democracy. They are counting on your vote as part of that process. As interesting as this election has been, getting to vote for a woman is still pretty cool and I feel like that gets swept under the rug a little bit,” Swedlund said. “But that’s pretty rad, the fact that we get to do that.” I didn’t get the ‘real’ voting process, but it was fun to be able to research the candidates, even in all the different local elections, Having the opportunity to vote has always been something that I’ve looked forward to, and even though these aren’t ideal circumstances, I’m still really proud that I had the opportunity to vote and to participate in the democratic process.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “One of the reasons why I like elections is the opportunity to exercise my democratic right as a citizen of this great nation. By casting my vote, my voice gets to be heard, and I get to participate in one of the decisions which, to a large extent, affects very many aspects of my life. For this very important exercise, I always prefer to accomplish my duty in person and this time around, it was no different. It is just one of those statements that I have to deliver in person. Judging by how long the line was on the election day, I think that I was not the only person who felt the same way. However, a few hours are definitely shorter as compared to a period of four years of carrying the burden of not taking part in such a significant exercise for my sake, for the sake of the nation, and that of future generations. In that same spirit, I ensured that I brought my sixteen-year-old to see (and hopefully learn something) me in action. Additionally, I was really grateful for the company, because the wait was way shorter. We also faced the anxiety that built up in the course of the day together, until it was all over. Towards the D-day, much tension had built up in my workplace from the many colleagues who were Trump supporters. This was, however, not a very big deal because of election independence and the right to a secret ballot. Although it affected working relationships and a few aspects of the job, everyone was entitled to their choice, and got to express it by their votes. Among all the events that have occurred this year, I am very proud of myself for voting, and I am very pleased with the outcome so far.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020.
  • “This year was my first year actually participating in the voting process. It was very quick and easy to do when I went to go vote in person. This is because most people did the early vote so they had to endure the long lines while me and my family did it on election day. When I walked in and they checked my name on the computers the first thing I noticed was how quiet the atmosphere was. After they gave us the ballots we had two stations, which were to check the people we want in isolation and then to place the ballot into the scanning computer. Overall it was a nice experience and I am glad that I did it.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “My voting experience in 2020.My plan was to leave work and go to vote, but that was not the case. My mother called to get the absentee ballot and requested one for me. I mentioned to her I am not mailing it because we are not sure if it will reach where it needed to go. In the week of October 20, 2020 my mother said we can go and do the early voting on Saturday October 24, 2020.That Saturday morning, I opened the mail and choose who I wanted to vote for. We left home at 8:30 am to hopefully be first in line. Our polling station was Brooklyn College. As we approached our destination, we noticed the line was already a block away from the College and around the corner. We drove to the entrance looking for a parking spot, and what I saw amazed me. Several people walked with their folding chairs and beach chair and was comfortably sitting waiting inline. We drove around looking for a spot where we do not have to pay the meter, eventually we drove towards the end of the line and got a park half block from where the line ended. At this point I was upset, there was too many people, I wanted to go home. My thoughts were, I could either vote on Sunday or after work a day in the week. I honestly wanted to go home and back in my bed. We walked to the back of the line which was almost at the end of the first block on Avenue I. In about two minutes I told my mother I cannot stand here I am going fora walk. I walked to the gate to find out if we had to wait until o’clock as we already fill out the ballot. One of the volunteers said we can go in and drop it off. I immediately called my mother and told her “just walk to the gate, don’t say anything we don’t have to wait in line. “When she reached to the gate we went in and was stopped by a lady, who asked us where you going? We said the lady at the gate told us we can go and drop our ballot. The lady said, “I have to stop this, you need to go back outside.” My mother asked if we could sit inside. I told the lady she has a bad leg and cannot stand long. They allowed us to stay inside the college grounds. My sigh of relief went, we were back to square one, having to wait until 10 o’clock. As we waited, I was observing everything that was taking place around me. People chatting with each other, those who were trying to get inside first and listening to the instruction given to the workers. It was not time as the workers allowed some people to enter through the gate. I saw one elder woman being pushed in a wheelchair, several were on walkers and many had a walking cane. In the two years I voted since living in America I never saw anyone in wheel chair and walkers going to vote. A mother and daughter both had walking cane, It was noticeable they had a problem standing for the long periods. It was an experience. Most of the people had leg problems. Voters were lining up where were waiting and no one attended to us who were inside the gate, so my mother said let’s go. I was hesitant because I did not want anyone to embarrass us. Two lines were made one for those who were going to vote and one for those who were going to drop off their ballot. We noticed what was taking place and went in the line. They were very disorganized the people were not standing 6 feet apart. The workers were not sure what was their role. We just went and drop the envelope in a glass bin that was on a table outside the door. There was a lady by the table not sure is she was a worker, if she was, she had no idea what to tell us. I had to explain to a lady how to put her ballot in the envelope. At the table there was a group of five of us and we were not six feet apart. We dropped our envelopes and left. On our way out a lady in line asked us if we finished voted, we said yes, we had the mail in vote, so we just drop the envelope. She replied, “I did not know you could do that.” It was over for us, as we left the college compound there were people passing by and videotaping. On our way to the car there were more people videotaping, a bus drove by and the driver was honking his horn as to say yes, I am proud of you all, let us do this. We waited for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes and was finished by 10:20 am. It was a quick process because we had the absentee ballot and an eye opener to see the many people that went out to vote before November 3rd.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Voting in 2020 no matter what way you voted was sure to be an experience for anyone and everyone in the united states.  I prepared myself for the foolishness that I could possibly encounter performing my basic civic duty. While this election was not as inspirationally as our forever president in 2008, I was still eager to see a woman who looked like me to finally take her place in the white house. As important as it was for me to see this through you would think I would have taken advantage of early voting. Of course, I did not. not due to so much as laziness but the days just got away from me. Plus, I was literally leaving the country about 5 days before election day. So, by the time day came I was just getting back to NYC. On the day of election day, I was extremely nervous as if I were running for office myself and it did not help that my parents kept calling me to find out if I voted yet. It was as if they forgot I have a full-time job. Throughout the day I kept looking out of my window at my poll site looking for sight of long lines, I saw all the horror stories on the news and social media. When I finally got off from work, I rush across the street to a nonexistent line. I thanked the ancestors that I lived in a blue state lol. I cast my vote and like most of the world waited on my couch with my phone in my hand for the results. Like most of America I am still waiting, three days later.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “In this year 2020 election, I did not vote. It’s no secret President Trump is not the greatest president but, I believe he pulled a lot of strings to become President and would go to any length to become President again. America needs a lot of things to be fixed. In my opinion, nothing is going to get better. All that’s going on in America tells a lot about how much our President cares about making any changes to help, Do not get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think my vote doesn’t matter or count. It’s just a simple fact that Trump has a lot of money to make things possible for himself and high power connections that he uses to his advantage. For this reason, I did not vote. But in the next 4 years, I will vote when someone else is running.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, as a Latino and as a USA city cent, voting is something very important. One thing to know is that as a teen coming from the Dominican republic when I was 15, I was not clear about voting, passing the years I did not pay attention to voting, so I haven’t voting since I came to USA, this probably happens for my lack of immaturity and neglect, finally this year I was thinking about voting so I did try to register myself for voting, but it was late all ready. Also, the day of voting I did have to take care of a family thing and wasn’t able to vote. But responsibly I will be prepared myself with time so for the next election I will be able to vote in here the united stated.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “This year I finally voted. My reason for not voting last year was because I did not believe that my vote really mattered. Both my mother and I voted this year, we went together; it was her first time voting as well because she previously became an American citizen. This year, voting for me was something serious that I felt the need to do. I, as well as my mother voted early and in person. Though the line was a little long, it was moving very quickly so it did not take as long as I thought it would. I remember after voting I mentioned to my mother “Biden will win this election, I can feel it”. I also remembered after voting the feeling we both had, a feeling of accomplishment. From then I’ve convinced all of my eligible friends to vote, because this is our country too and our votes matter.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “As a young black woman, I needed to take advantage of the opportunity to vote. There was a time in history where both black people and women had to fight for that right. It’s a privilege today for so many reasons. We should all go out and let our voices be heard if we have the right because I know of many who don’t have that right. Personally, this year, it weighed heavily on me because of all the issues that occurred throughout the year. With the pandemic and police brutality at its highest, I had to let my voice be heard. America needs a change, and my one vote makes a difference. I purposely decided not to vote early because the lines seem very long. So on Election day, I went to my voting station, and there was absolutely no line. I finished within 5 minutes. It felt good to not wait in a long line, and it felt good to be apart of something so great.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “This year, I voted early with my older sister and my mother and I must say that this election was tough. The lines were very long and reached down two blocks from my voting site. However since my mother is disabled, we were able to go in to vote  and out in under 10 minutes. I strongly  believe that Trump should be removed from the  White House and  Joe Biden should become the president of the United States since he seems  to care about the needs of all Americans and not just the Democratic party. We need a president who cares for all Americans and not just one specific group. Trump has always been honest about how he feels about minorities in  America. He chooses to believe that most Mexicans are undocumented, lazy and criminals. Also, he makes it okay for his supporters to attack black people for no reason other than hatred towards the color of their skin. “Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Hence the reasons why we do not need a president who normalizes hate towards, feminism, minorities, the LGBTQ+ community and abortion. This election have destroyed many friendship due to people being on opposite sides. I just want a president who genuinely cares for the black community as well as every minority group in America, not against  abortion (a woman should be able to make her own decisions about her uterus) and doesn’t hide secrets from the public.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “My 2020 Election Experience Even though I could not vote since I had only migrated to America 4 years ago, I must say this election proved to be exhausting. The prediction and leading up to I followed the news religiously.  Just before Election Day, pre-election voting surpassed two-thirds of all ballots cast during the 2016 presidential election.  More than 91.6 million Americans have voted, and many states are reporting record early voting turnout in the 2020 election. The massive early voting numbers suggest a high level of enthusiasm for voting this year, despite the obstacles of a pandemic. Nationwide, the more than 91.6 million ballots already cast represent about 67% of the more than 136.5 million votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.  Election day and to date, its tension filled. Joe Biden is nearing 270 electoral votes. Six states remain too close to call. President Trump claimed some legitimate tallying efforts should stop and tried to assert victory in the election. Joe Biden urged patience as the votes continued to be counted.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I did not vote this year because I’m not a citizen yet; however, I’m well aware of the voting process. I’ll be able to vote next time, which is 2024. This is my first time experiencing an election in the USA. I’ve got the election experience with my patient who mailed in her ballot. She’s an older woman and she’s concerned about the covid-19, knowing she’s more at risk. Covid-19 played a major role in election2020 because some citizens were afraid and didn’t feel safe going out to vote; that’s why mail-in ballot came about. So, they still got a chance to vote. Covid-19 in general made everything different in society; it changed a lot of things e.g., partying, gatherings, and even connection in the home because once someone in the home was positive, they had to be isolated. It closed businesses, got citizens unemployed, sick, and some even died. The death of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, and the others affected on this year’ selection. Celebrities such as Jhene Aiko, Kim Kardashian, Lala, T.I, Cardi B, Porsha Williams, Busta Rhymes were all encouraging citizens to vote. They said George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, and the others that died didn’t get a chance to vote, so we should vote for them. Based on the news, a lot of citizens came out and voted this year. I’ve learned how important voting is. Voting plays an important role in our country. It’s important because every count vote counts, and the elections should be fair. Some citizens would be upset when they found out who won the election and didn’t vote, which doesn’t make sense. Years ago, voting wasn’t an option for us because of racism, so now that we have the option, we should take advantage of it.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “This year’s election for 2020 was one but by far one of the most spine-chilling elections. With Donald Trump as our current president, I couldn’t predict the following years getting any better. With all the mess and disaster that he has brought this country for the last four years I couldn’t imagine what another four years would be like. During the 2016 Campaign I knew more about the elected candidates my votes would’ve been for Bernie Sanders & Or Hillary Clinton, for many reasons but not all good. I had personal reservations about Hillary Clinton because of how her husband former president Bill Clinton embezzled millions of dollars from a trust from they created in Haiti where I am from. It turns out the people of the community never received any of the help that they were promised which isn’t right at all. However, Because Hillary is a woman & we have never had a female president in the U.S I thought she could make a change & shake the election up! But still, those aren’t good enough reasons to vote for someone. I felt the same way about this election, we know Donald Trump isn’t good or for our country. We know he is indeed racist and hates minorities and has done nothing to shape our country but tear it apart. Although he makes it seem like he has done a lot he hasn’t, and his true colors showed inevitably. On the other token Joe Biden has been a person of interest for voting for this year he has a lot of good reasons for being president. With Kamala Harris as vice president, I could see a lot of change happening for the better. He is resilient in many ways; he has a lot of character and you can tell that he is earnest in all of his efforts and what he wants to do for the country. However, I do feel like he in some ways has tried to buy the black vote in some of his campaign adds. Although I can see he is very passionate about helping the black community some things will never sit right with me with either candidates, but my vote did go to Joe Biden this year2020 Election. Many people probably voted Biden to get trump out of office which is the only right thing we can do this year for our country at this time. But many people also where going to vote trump because in a sense we feel like he destroyed this country so only can fix the mess he made. Although the answer and choice aren’t hard to make, I knew having Trump in office another 4 years would only allow him more time to tear the country apart especially for people of lower working class. My Experience with voting was very new I never voted before as I mentioned early because I didn’t have any good reasons to vote at the time and the information, I had was enough not to decide on the candidates except for one. I voted in my neighborhood at P.S 152 near the Brooklyn College Campus. The lines for voting were very short it was very quick and easy. The lines and the environment were very controlled. I was very excited after placing my vote because I knew regardless of if I voted or not it counted just as much as while if I didn’t vote I would also be hurting my chances as a young black female in this world by not voting the right president.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I sadly was not able to vote. I was not able to vote because I have DACA and legally I cannot vote. A lot was on the line for me and around another 800,000 DACA recipients around the country. Once I got the news that Joe Biden was the president elect it felt like a huge weight got off of my back. All election week I was tied to my phone because I was worried that Trump would win or he would take it up to the Supreme Court and the Majority Republican SCOTUS would hand President Trump the victory even though Biden had 5 million more votes.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I did not vote because I do not understand the political and social policies of the society. I saw, however, people, standing in lines for many days when I went on the street. When I asked friends and family members the reason for such long lines, I was told that the people were waiting to vote. I am sorry that I did not vote because I am now hearing of the plans which the President-elect is making, and I think that they will affect my lifestyle. At present, I am studying for a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and there may be policies that President-elect Joe Biden will make that will have good or bad effects on my life.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “The year is 2020, and I have turned eighteen and was eligible to vote for the first time. When I turned eighteen, voting wasn’t the first idea that came to mind, but it became more and more mentioned when the time came around to do it. I’m really not a political person and thought my vote wouldn’t really matter, but commercials, social media influencers, and many more kept pushing the narrative that every vote matters. Even my family enforced the idea of voting, so I was fully convinced and was ready to vote come election day. The day of the election day came, and I was prepared to vote. I had gone with my cousin for the first time, and it was pretty fast. There wasn’t a line. My cousin and I just walked in, and they ask for our names for our district. When I had given my name, they had announced FIRST TIME VOTER very loudly and clapped as I took my voting ballot. After I filled in my bubbles and submitted my ballot, they announced again as I left FIRST TIME VOTER, and I felt proud a little that my vote could have really mattered or made a difference. I left with three stickers and a pen saying I voted for the 2020 election.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Though the law doesn’t require you to vote it is always good to exercise your rights as a citizen of your country. Voting for a party/ candidate that you deem fit because you support their ideas and logics is always encouraged. I am an International student from the Caribbean, therefore I couldn’t participate in the 2020 U.S.A elections. Many times, in the months leading up to the election date I would turn on the television and the majority of the news channels were giving updates on the election; who to vote for etc. When there wasn’t news about election then it was about the Corona pandemic which has caused great change to our lives and the world. All I hoped was for everyone to make the right decision on who they felt and understood was good to lead and make smart decisions for the country. All in all the people have spoken!” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “This year’s elections will go down in U.S. history as a result of the socio-political context, and the skepticism of some others. The enthusiasm of people to go to the polling stations was enormous, one would have thought that voting was mandatory given the willingness shown by people either through e-mail voting or early voting; and those who did not have this opportunity went directly to the polls on election day to fulfill their civil duty. I even had the impression that the campaign was continuing in the voting line, by the words of some people trying to intimidate others in their choices.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I voted on the day of the election. I left worked earlier than usual so I could have time to vote. I had tried to do it in the morning the voting machines wasn’t working and there was such a long line. Instead, of spending several hours waiting on line, I preferred to leave and returned in the afternoon. Upon my returned, the line was short and smooth, it was respectfully quiet, in a few minutes I was already done.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “No matter what motivated people to go out and vote this year, it had to be the same in every election; it would make the elected officials more representative in relation to the voting rates of the population.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020 
  • “Voting Day 2020 Experience
    Voting day 2020 was such an amazing experience, and it was also very overwhelming at the same time. I was so excited to be apart of such an important election. As a woman of color, mother to a four-year-old, and a wife to a male of color, it was vital to our future.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I have experienced racism firsthand and have been discriminated against in the workplace and outside of the workplace. This feeling of being discriminated against is something I wish my daughter will never have to experience. However, these last four years of living in America under the Presidential leadership of Donald Trump was unbearable.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I voted early alongside my husband with our four-year-old in tow, and my mother came along as well. Our experience overall was very positive. The voting itself took no more than 25 minutes, and that included waiting in line. I know my vote mattered because we will now an educated woman of color and of the Caribbean and East Asian descent for the first time in the White House! I am feeling positive for the next four years, I am optimistic, and I am hopeful! I am so happy that I was apart of this epic election.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “ This year was my first-time voting, so my experience this year wasn’t really anything I didn’t feel any kind of excitement the way other people were so excited because the presidents are not really the presidents like Obama. (not saying joe Biden is bad) but there are somethings he supports that aren’t right. But it’s a good thing he isn’t racist like trump. We just have to see if Joe Biden stands on his words. My voting wasn’t early voting. I voted on Election day in person, it was really fast. Any little thing I could think of to remember this year(2020) is how the world literally changed all the way around with the disease, the lockdown, the way everything is getting closed down.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  •  “ I’ve often heard democratic presidential candidates say, “this is the most important election of our time,” as they campaign for votes for the presidential elections over the past twenty years. This election, however, in my opinion, was undoubtedly the most critical election of our time! We needed all hands on deck to stop the fascist regime of President Donald Trump and his corrupt merry band of thieves.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “As I am not yet a citizen of the United States of America, I could not vote; however, I was still able to contribute. One way I contributed was by challenging the flow of misinformation being circulated by right-winged supporters, especially those about Senator Kamala Harris (now Madam Vice President Harris). It was not only about challenging the misinformation for me but also about spreading awareness through social media dialogue and engaging the other side in healthy debates. I attempted to volunteer to make phone calls with the Biden/Harris team but was informed that only citizens could do so. Another way I contributed was by donating monetarily to the campaigns; this proved to be a bit expensive – they kept texting for more donations. Lastly, on election day, my boss and I went to the voting center closest to us (Brooklyn Museum) and handed out bottles of water and granola bars to the diligent people of park slope, many of whom stood online for hours.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “As much as I would have loved to be able to say, “I helped vote him out,” I’m satisfied that he got voted out. Millions of people used their votes to voice their concerns and displeasure with “Trump’s America,” where hundreds of thousands died from a pandemic, and billion-dollar corporations thrived as we suffered. This was a great win for democracy, but we are not done though. Georgia needs to “seal the deal” in January 2021, so we can finally move forward progressively, in my opinion.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “My mom and I went early voting for the first time. My experience was wonderful especially to watch the workers enforce the social distancing rules. I appreciate the staff trying their best to keep everybody safe. What amaze me while I was at the site voting was when I seen a young man with his letter from the court stating that he can vote. I never seen someone go all out their way to vote so me for to see that with my own two eyes really warmed my heart. If that man can go through all the troubles to make sure he can vote I feel like everybody can get up and go vote it is just that simple. I can say that voting does matter 100%. How does people in the community wants change to occur but they are not doing the simplest help which is to vote. Many people think that they vote do not matter and they are wrong, everybody vote matters and if we all come together and vote there can be some changes in our communities for once. #BIDEN2020” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I am doing this for extra credits because  I was unable to volunteer to help voters in Harlem.  Unfortunately I am not  able to vote in the US, this is the only reason I did not. If I had that opportunity I would’ve definitely voted. I encouraged all  my co-workers, friends and families  to go out and exercise that right to vote. I did not care who they were voting for just as long as they did. I even went with my friend to keep her company in the long line at the polling station.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020 
  • “I am happy I had that chance to experience voting in the US  first hand and I was all for seeing the long lines, I guess I was just happy to see people coming out in their numbers to vote for the betterment of their lives and for families and the US on a whole.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I went out and voted in-person. However, I was a bit hesitant to go out and vote because I thought of the risk of contracting the Coronavirus, extremely long wait inline and frigid temperature outside. Nonetheless, during my lunch break, I decided to drive to the polling station to get a glimpse of the line. When I got in front of the polling station, I was surprised to see no line at all and I became ecstatic. I quickly parked my car, masked up and went in. The polling agents at the front door ensured that the Coronavirus’ safety guidelines were in place (social distancing, mask, etc.), while another was swift in locating the desk I have to go to. Once I got to the desk, another polling agent accessed and verified my information quickly and handed me my ballot and some “I Voted” stickers. Next, I proceeded to the boot and voted for the candidates of my choice, took my ballot and scanned it into the machine, and ensured I got a confirmation. The entire voting process took me approximately 5 minutes. The Presidential Election 2020 is the best voting experience I have had since voting.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “The 2020 Presidential election was my second time voting for a president in my lifetime because I am only 21 years old. For my experience, I did in person voting on the day of, November3rd. My family and I woke up around 4am to get to our polling station for 5am which is only down the block from us, and we stood on-line for approximately 2 hours. Even though the polling did not open until 5:30 a.m., we were not the first in line. There wasn’t much that happened that day as it was mainly just people in the neighborhood on-line to vote. Social distancing existed outside while we were online. It was really cold and standing outside made me feel the cold even more. I went to vote with my family so laughing and talking made the two hours go by quickly. One thing I did notice automatically was the diversity of the people who was out at our polling station to vote. There were different arrays of people; black, white, Hispanic, young and (first time voters) and older voters as well. Everyone and anyone had come out to make sure they were able to cast their vote. People wanted their voice to be heard. The only issue that I had that day was the organization of the whole voting process. My voting poll is located in the rec room of a large multi- apartment building complex. There was one-line, and it was after one and a half hour of being on that line that there was an updated announcement. The announcement said that there were 2 lines, one for the people who lived in the apartment complex and then the another was for those who did not live in the complex. The persons guiding and organizing the lines seemed a bit overwhelmed and their organization suffered as a result. They were placing people in the wrong lines and changing them after being in one line for over an hour. Needless to say, I remained in my line, as I was almost about to go in. I was excited to vote in this election. Once inside it was slightly more organized, there were labels telling us where to go based on my address and then my name. Those were the only issues that I had for my voting experience; however, I have a feeling that my vote made an impact; not only for my community but also for my country as we go through these times.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “The US constitution outlines that elections should take place every four years. The whole of 2020, I was waiting eagerly for when I would finally cast my vote for my choice leader. Given the polarized atmosphere of the campaigns, I was a bit nervous, but the election commission assured the voters that everything should be right and gave assurances on overall their preparedness. On the 3rd of November, I woke up early in the morning, which is not my habit since I am on medication. I was zealous on anything related to the election that day, and my health condition did not obscure my objective. The aim was straightforward – wake up early in the morning, prepare, and leave for the polling station. A few minutes later, I arrived at my polling station and parked my vehicle, but I was shocked by the large number of voters who were already on the line. I have voted many times in my life, but I have never seen such a huge turnout, and I concluded that it was indeed a real “tug of war” between Trump’s and Biden’s followers; thus, each presidential candidate had invested in the campaign and was determined to win the election. Before getting out of my old BMW, something came to mind; I thought of going home to do something productive, or just relax and come to check where the long queue would have reached. I weighed the pros and cons and was eventually convinced that maybe patience was the better option. I felt it was my constitutional duty and responsibility, so I decided to wait. Before getting out of my old BMW, something came to mind; I thought of going home to do something productive, or just relax and come to check where the long queue would have reached. I weighed the pros and cons and was eventually convinced that maybe patience was the better option. I felt it was my constitutional duty and responsibility, so I decided to wait. The weather was relatively fair and, after all, I had waited so long for this day. I thought that older adults like me were insignificant in numbers, but it was a surprise that even individuals with disabilities were present. So, the environment and the voters’ aspect motivated me to be patient in the queue. Nonetheless, I was discouraged after assessing the progress after one and a half hours. The lines were long, and people started being impatience; some left to find a drink. I, too went in search of water to keep my body hydrated. The good thing despite the long queues and waiting, the clerks did everything they could to make sure the election process went smoothly. To keep myself busy before my turn, I took out a novel I had and read two chapters. The line moved slowly, and whenever one cast their vote, they came out happy. I felt some disappointment at the pace of things, which I had expected would be much faster. The line in front of me slowly grew shorter, and, at around noon, I was rounding the last corner. At a quarter to 1 pm, I finally entered the room where the clerks provided me with the ballot papers; I marked out my choices and cast a vote into the ballot box. I was welcomed by the officials, where they explained the procedure even though it was not my first time. The few minutes I was in the booth, I ensured that I followed the steps required to avoid any chance of it counted as a spoiled vote. After completing the simple instructions, I cast a vote on the ballot, and that was over. After exiting, I could not imagine that I was done; I had had such a terrible experience on that day. I regret why I did not use the mail voting; perhaps I would have saved time and tired, but what matters is casting a vote, and I did that at 1 pm. I hope the coming election voters will cast their votes faster rather than wasting valuable time at the lines.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I did vote. I voted on the voting day November 3 It’s was great experience to vote for the first time. I think my vote is matter because my vote is voice it should matter! I HOPE.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Election day was set to be on November 3, 2020. This year was different because after four years of hurt, pain and disappointment in the president and his governing party the people wanted a change. Our current president Trump is a very unkind person and for the first time in America’s history no one has shown this president any respect because he has no respect for the people that he represents. Months leading up to the election was critical whether the current president would be serving a second term in the white house which was the main topic on everyone’s lips or he will be leaving. There were persons saying that they do not know if they can take another four years under president Trump’s leadership. In fact, there was a lot of fear spreading across the country because he failed the people on all levels. I was not planning not to vote this year. In fact, I have never voted before because I do not believe in America’s political system. The current president had me thinking a lot especially about our black, Latino and immigrant communities. These are the people that the president does not like, which he has said over and over again in the last four years as a president. Also, president Trump’s plans that he had for the next four years was not looking good for a lot of our minority groups. This sends even more fear as our community members started to wonder what will happen to us if he should continue to lead America again .During this election I have seen people who have never voted leave their homes to stand in long lines in the cold just to make sure that their vote counts so that a change can take place in America. Indeed, this was a historical moment for me to see people all across the country standing for hours in long lines and pouring rain to say we need a change and we need it now. Even online voting persons had to stay on for hours to get through but at the end they would say it was worth it. Great leaders show love, respect and compassion for the people who they represent and for four years I watched a president who did not display any of those attributes. For that reason, a change must come” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Despite my permanent resident status, I’m still not allowed to participate in United States elections.  I did however wait in line with my fiancé while she went to cast her ballot.  She decided to go in person because the news around mail in ballots made her uneasy.  She did go to vote early before election day and we waited in line for about an hour.  
    Even though I couldn’t vote, I followed along in the news and various media platforms for coverage on election day and the days that followed.  I recall the 2016 election, and while it was contentious, I don’t remember quite the uproar that surrounded the election this year in 2020.  The events surrounding the 2020 election have been unprecedented or have historically gone without attention and I think it agitated voters more than a typical election because there has been so much uncertainty.  Americans values seem to be polarized and consequently more violent recently and this year’s election reminded me of elections in my country of birth, Jamaica.  Tribalism, protest, gun violence, lies, and mistrust are ideas and concepts that surround voting in Jamaica and I never expected to see that sort of behavior in the United States.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Every four years, the united states have a presidential election that will determine who will be the next president for the upcoming four years. Every election is important, but this it’s a little different and probably the most important one in American history. For many reasons Americans think that this election is the most important one, one of the most important reason is that American are tired of not seeing real leadership in the actual president and the way he handle the pandemic that killed thousand of Americans. Unfortunately, I did get to vote this time because I am an immigrant and not a citizen of the country yet. Nevertheless, I believe that every vote counts. The early vote was a good idea because of the pandemic. In some places it was peaceful, but I noticed in the news that there was a lot of protests around the country.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “As for voting, I do not part take in politics. As per my personal views and religious beliefs. At times I did watch the race just to see what went on. I just believe in peace and that honestly the human race with never be able to find that with politics.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “My voting experience this year will be one to remember for the rest of my life. I remember the weather was 50 degrees 6am that morning I stood in line for and 1hr and a half. Me voting meant a lot I stood for those who couldn’t vote and most of all I got to make the right decision . Which ended with an amazing outcome. I’m also excited that we have our first black women vice president which is amazing also being an African American women. Prior to voting I will say that I have never been so scared in my entire life my anxiety was really bad with this whole process.”
  • “ I think it’s safe to say this year’s election  was very much an emotional roller coaster for everybody. For me, I know it was very important in my decision on who could be our next president.  This year I was proud to say I was able to vote in New York being that I lived in Florida before this. I got to go vote with my mother and brother, an experience I was happy to share with them. The wait surprisingly was short. As soon as we got to the voting booth my family and I were in and out. I missed early voting so I had to vote on the actual election day. I don’t believe I would do anything differently. To be honest I was more nervous about the outcome than the actual voting experience. “Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Well, I didn’t vote this year because I consider both of the presidents running incapable of doing the job,  according to the internet they both have an ugly past. Also, Trump knew about the virus and didn’t close the airports, Biden is accused of pedophile yet with pictures that true or not we don’t even know if it’s true or not and he also wants to increase taxes.  In my opinion, whoever wins the election, this year won’t matter because they are both unethical, no morals, and not prepare to the responsibilities of this city.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “This year, my voting experience was decent. I made sure to get in an early vote the week before election day. My intentions were to avoid any lines and crowds of people so I can get in and out fast. I woke up as early as 5:30, got a light work out in, then took a shower. Then I ate a light breakfast and prepared to head out. I was so excited to vote and also happy because I though i would be avoiding crowds and lines. Shorty after, I found out that there really is no avoiding the large crowds or the wait in lines to vote. There were so many early voters, but thank God I went when I did. The the lines moved at a moderate pace and although I was a bit impatient I got through within a hour and some extra minutes. Most of my friends I spoke to said they spent hours waiting just to vote, others said they did not get through or did not vote. I think its best to get in an early vote for the sake of not standing around too long in lines. For any future election this will be choice.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I really wanted to vote I made sure I was registered and my mom. She got to vote but they were acting like I didn’t exist and was giving me hell then I asked if I can do an affidavit vote and the guy said it doesn’t matter because they going to throw those out. So I told him okay because I was tired of dealing with him and karma is a witch. There was no line at the voting center and also found parking quick. Even in front of the voting site that I was able to help my disabled mother to go into building everything was running smoothly until I had to deal with the situation.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Good afternoon professor, this year my voting experience was pretty quite I actual am a poll worker when its election time. My location did not see that many people we did have a rush in the a.m. and the mail in ballots had a lock on it and tied down to a table. I can see why lol the riots going on outside will bring the crazy out of anyone. Me myself I actually did get a chance to vote and I am happy new York “city” did what NYS needed.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “Hello professor, My voting experience was definitely new to me. I decided to request an official absentee ballot thru the mail. It was easy and I just had to provide my own stamp. I was able to research the candidates I knew nothing about before sending my ballot in. Which was very helpful. This process is different. It doesn’t feel the same as voting in person. I was worried I didn’t send it in on time because I didn’t receive any kind of confirmation thru the mail or via email. I will always remember this because 2020 was a hell of a year! Voting this year made me feel like I accomplished something. I feel proud!” Student at MEC, Nov 2020
  • “I did not get the chance to experience voting this year because I am not a citizen of the United States as of yet. I migrated from Guyana, a small country in South America three years ago, so I have about 2 more years of living in the (US) before applying for citizenship. on a good note seeing everyone coming together to create change for a better, peaceful, and equal country makes me excited for the future for when my turn comes to vote. Even thought it was a stressful process to watch its amazing to have positive end results.” Student at MEC, Nov 2020

The photo above includes Professor Kone (second on the left) with a team of women who participated in a panel last March on Women in Business.

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