In person or mail-in: Students take advantage of voting options

St. John’s students share how they voted this Presidential Election



As the 2020 presidential election approached, voters all over the country were faced with the difficult decision of how to cast their ballots. The coronavirus pandemic created an influx of mail-in and early voting; the New York Times reported  that over half of the voter turnout in 2016 had already voted by Oct. 28. 

Students on the St. John’s Queens campus were also among those who had to choose between voting in-person and mailing-in an absentee ballot. On Oct. 29, the Torch took to Instagram to poll our followers on how they intended to vote this election. The majority of respondents said they were voting in-person this week – 72 said they would be visiting the polls and only 39 said they would be voting by mail. Many students who spoke directly to the Torch also say they chose to vote in-person.

“I am voting this year because we need a change. I don’t believe Trump handled issues appropriately in his term and we cannot continue with his policies another four years,” junior biology major Zahra Gittham, who chose to vote early and in-person, said. “Biden might bring something to the table that Trump has not.” 

Senior criminal justice major Brianna Arroyl is also voted in-person, sharing that, “I have rights and they don’t need to be taken away.”

Freshmen also took advantage of early voting in what is likely the first general election that they were able to participate in.

Freshman legal studies major Briana Vroomfield said she is voted early and in-person to be heard. “I have rights. I am pro-choice and women should have their rights and choose what they should do,” Vroomfield said.

Ashley Makolo, a freshman biology major, has a simple reason for why she chose to vote, early and in-person, this election: “To get Trump out of office.”

“It’s time for a new person. Biden is not the ideal candidate but he is better than Trump. [Trump’s] supporters are racist and it has escalated now. He says Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group and I don’t agree with that,” she said.

Freshman Gabriel Durkin has a much less passionate reason for choosing to vote than his fellow freshmen.

“My family voted,” Durkin said. “I’m not really into politics.”

In-person early voting is not the only way students voted this election. Senior finance major Darren Maraj sent in a mail-in ballot. 

“I didn’t get a chance to vote in 2016 and I want to utilize my right as a citizen and spark change by voting in this election. I am a huge advocate for human rights,” Maraj said.

Sydney Rogers, a junior biology major, also sent in an absentee ballot instead of heading to the polls. “I voted because it is my civilian duty to do so. The incompetence of the current administration shows their inability to serve all Americans.”