The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Seniors Cast Their Ballots for the First Time in 2020 Election

Vote Safe DC sign placed outside Georgetown Public Library ballot box. The sign offers two methods of voting, in person or by mail (AP Photo/ Abigail Bown)

As usual, a few WIS seniors are eligible to vote in the 2020 General Election. However, they will be doing so under the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their first decision is whether to vote in person, or by absentee/mail-in ballot. 

The Maryland State Board of Elections (MSBOE) started sending registered voters their ballots on September 24. “Almost 800,000 ballot packets will be shipped to voters in Maryland over a five day period,” MSBOE said in an official statement. 

David Allen lives in Maryland and voted absentee. “I even got an email from the [MS]BOE letting me know they received my ballot,” Allen said.

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Email to David Allen from Maryland State Board of Elections (AP Photo/David Allen)

Virginia has taken a similar approach. “The Virginia Department of Elections (VDE) encourages voters to protect their health during the COVID-19 outbreak by voting absentee for all upcoming elections,” VDE wrote in a voting update on June 9, 2020. 

However, Senior Patrick Anders is planning to vote in person. Anders explained that his Virginia polling location is very accessible, only a two minute drive from his house. “I feel very fortunate that my location is so close to my house…other people cannot say so much,” Anders said. 

Liam Byrne is also planning to vote at his local Virginia polling location. “Safety is [my] biggest concern, but I think they’re taking the proper protocols,” Byrne said. 

VDE received $9 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act back in June. The CARES Act funds went towards protecting the health and safety of polling workers and voters, and the additional mail costs of increased absentee ballots.

But despite the safety concerns that voters face this year, the benefits of voting outweigh these added complications.

Byrne expressed his appreciation for finally being able to vote. “I feel like I get to help dictate the country’s future rather than watching from the sidelines,” Byrne said.

Anders felt similarly, explaining that he feels that voting is sacred and vital. “People have been fighting for voting rights for so much [of] American history, that if I have the opportunity to vote and don’t, I see that as disrespecting all those that fought for [it],” he said. 

Nonetheless, Byrne and Allen revealed frustrations with voting for candidates who weren’t their first choice. “I would’ve definitely preferred to vote for a younger candidate in this election,” Byrne said. 

Allen encapsulated his 2020 voting experience in 10 words. “The process was easy for voting. The choices were frustrating.”

By Abigail Bown 

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