Voting during a Pandemic


2020 is proving to be an interesting year for voters, especially students, who must navigate through new challenges that arise from politics during a pandemic. Much like the presidential upset of 2016, voters are more divided than ever before, with students having to make decisions that will have repercussions for years down the line.

That is, if they even decide to vote. “Honestly, I don’t think that I’m going to even vote in this election,” journalism student Michael Passaglia said. “It just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.”

Passaglia may be an outlier. Many other college students have shown a keen interest in voting for the first time, such as junior Eddie Freeman. “I’m definitely voting in this election, I believe voting is important and it’s everyone’s duty to do so,” Freeman said.

According to data collected by the New York Times, voting among students dramatically increased between the 2016 and 2018 elections, with student voting nearly doubling. In fact, the Tuft University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher education found that nearly 40% of 10 million students it tracked voted, a huge number when compared to previous years.

An increase in voter turnout is always a good sign, but the policies of the current administration, along with the continued pandemic, have many Americans concerned about the safety of voting.

Due to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases around the nation, many states are turning to mail-in voting, encouraging their citizens to choose the safer option. In fact, the state of California has allowed mail-in voting since 1979. The issue with this, however, is that the Trump administration has repeatedly spread false information, claiming that voting by mail will lead to widespread voting fraud.

“I think it’s perfectly safe,” Freeman said. “I’ll be voting by mail this election because it’s a lot safer than risk going to a physical polling place.”

It will ultimately be up to students to decide whether they choose to vote by mail or simply vote at all. Regardless of the outcome, this election is certain to prove just as interesting and bizarre as the last.

Jack Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or @ JackAttack722 on Twitter