SPF seniors make their voices heard in the election

Erica Schindler, Editor in Chief

It’s no secret that the 2020 presidential election was like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a very divided nation, made this election unique, to say the least. Mail-in ballots were the norm in New Jersey, something new to most residents of the state.
According to the Washington Post, in this election, 65 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote. That means that the 2020 election had a higher voter turnout than any other election in the United States in over 100 years, with many young Americans voting for the first time.
While most Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School seniors are still 17, some turned 18 just in time to cast their ballots in this election. Seniors Jake Fleisher, Rachel Small and Olivia Fletcher were among those able to exercise their right to vote this year. For them, deciding to vote in this election was an easy choice.
I decided I wanted to vote because this is the first time I was legally able to do so, I wanted to exercise my newly earned civil obligation to vote for the President of the United States,” Fleischer said.
Many young voters were not overly enthusiastic about either major-party candidate, republican President Donald Trump, and democrat former Vice President (now-President-Elect) Joe Biden. Despite not being overly excited about the candidates, Small chose to vote for Biden because he aligned more with her political views and “was the morally sound choice.”
 “Although the candidate I voted for [was not] ideal, I knew he was the lesser…of two evils,” Small said.
Fletcher, who also voted for Biden, says that issues such as racism motivated her to cast her ballot for the former vice president despite not being completely in favor of him.
“I’m a very strong and firm believer in Black Lives Matter, and our current president has no remorse or any plans of interest for the racial injustices Black people face daily,” Fletcher said. “I voted for Joe Biden because I feel he fits the needs and has a plan of action for justice.” 
Along with deciding which candidates to vote for, these first-time voters had to decide how to cast their ballot in the midst of a pandemic. Like the majority of New Jersey citizens, Fleisher, Small and Fletcher all opted to vote by mail. 
“My family and I all decided it would be the safest way to vote considering the current times with COVID-19 still prevalent in the country,” Fleisher said.
Reflecting on the election and their first-time voting experiences, these students agreed that it is important for everyone, regardless of their age, to vote if they fit the requirements.
“If you want yourself and your opinions represented in the US government and you choose not to vote you had absolutely no influence,” Small said. “Voting is such an easy process and it’s also so important; it should be a no brainer.”