“As a Muslim in America, it’s always been hard to live my life without feeling fear.”
“The country is so divided, and this division is concerning.”
First-time voter Jennifer Arnold, 19, of Mohawk, Tennessee is like a lot of first-time voters. She’s nervous and a little uneasy about the process, from deciding between candidates to working the voting machine.
“You have to make sure that your vote is coming from a place of empathy and logic,” said Salman. No matter who you vote for, the candidate that is elected will be making policies that you will have to live with for the next four years, so it is important to vote for
the candidates you feel will do the most good.
For him, voting means being a good American.
“I feel like voting is a right people fought hard for so that our voices can be heard, and we should all take advantage of that and vote,” James said.
“With everything that has happened this year, I feel like I have to vote and be a part of the decision making that this country needs,” she said. Cruz decided on whom to vote for by doing research, studying politics, watching presidential debates, watching the news and studying how each candidate plans on running the country.
“Voting means taking part in the nation’s decisions, and it is a part of independence. I feel like if I didn’t vote I wouldn’t be doing my job as a citizen,” Baker said.
Baker is voting for change; she feels America needs to change to be greater and move forward.
“I let registering just fall through the cracks.”
Rachael Foster, 22, is voting for the first time this year.
Foster, who works at a Nashville hotel, said she took the process seriously, studying the candidates and deciding who would create a better life for all Americans. She wants to see policies put into place that improve quality of life.
“At this point it seems like everyone is arguing with one another on things that should be commonplace,” she said
The kinds of improvements she would like to see is better treatment of immigrants, improvements to the wage gap and lower costs of living and healthcare
Foster said her vote means a chance to sway the outcome of the election and decide the future leadership. It is a civil right and gives you a way to have your voice considered.
“If you asked me this when I was younger I would’ve laughed at you and said something along the lines of ‘voting is stupid’ or ‘my vote doesn’t count’ but now I know the importance of a vote,” Foster said.
Jimmie Covington, 22, is a first-time voter from Memphis. He is a recent graduate of MTSU, majoring in broadcast journalism.
Four years ago, Covington didn’t vote because he couldn’t get home in time to cast a ballot. He said he’s learned an important lesson in using his votes as a way to be heard.
Covington said voting in 2020 was mandatory for him.
He said he voted early for Joe Biden and hoped he will see changes in the next four years.
The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was a tipping point. Racial injustices are key issues to be addressed by the next administration raises, he said. He believes that Joe Biden, and especially his running mate Kamala Harris, will be perfect candidates to address these issues in the country.
Covington said he fears what is to come for Black Americans and believes the current administration has failed to make progress.
“I am a Black man so there is not a day that goes by that I don’t worry that this will be my last day on Earth,” he said, adding he voted because it was his right and duty.
Braxton Coleman, 21, is a senior journalism major at MTSU.
Coleman, a native of Nashville, said he wants to make a difference through activism, and he’s happy to be eligible to vote in the 2020 election.
He voted early for Joe Biden because he disagrees on numerous issues with President Trump, particularly his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his lack of understanding of race relations in the country. He worries that these issues will only create more division if change is not made.
“I don’t think the system is broken. I think it’s working exactly how it was made to work. So, the system works but it wasn’t made to work for or with Black Americans,” he said. He believes the issues underlying our country’s troubles are racism, division and a lack of leadership. He hopes his vote helps to bring change.
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