Election 2020

Making Votes Count, Anxiety on Minds of Debate Watchers

NEW YORK — On the eve of the second and final Joe Biden-Donald Trump TV debate Thursday before the Nov. 3 election, four people interviewed here gave their views about the significance of voting and, for them, what were the compelling issues.

“Yes, I am” voting this year, said Sali Matu Banguru, 25, of Staten Island.

The health care worker also said, “I watched the first presidential debate and I honestly thought it was ridiculous. None of the major questions that the moderator asked was answered. So, I really didn’t learn much. Hopefully, this upcoming presidential debate will be better.

Sali Matu Banguru (Courtesy photo)
Sali Matu Banguru (Courtesy photo)

“I’m concerned about the mail-in ballots as to whether or not they will be counted correctly and accurately.

“[Donald] Trump’s presidency has affected me in a major way. I am a Black woman raising Black children. We are in the worst time of our lives. From COVID-19 to racism.

“Trump has done nothing to help change racism and he only made a mockery of a global pandemic that has taken more than 200,000 lives.”

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Roneisha Pierce, 22, a 2020 Morgan State University graduate from Vallejo, Calif., said, “I would like to [vote], but I recently just moved from a different state and it is too late for me to register for the mail ballot.

“I watched the debates at the beginning. It was interesting seeing all of the candidates, from different backgrounds and seeing what they all believed in.”

As for ideas that stood out to her the most, Pierce said, “The backlash that everyone had towards President Trump. Many of their arguments were the same when it came to getting him out of office.”

Concerns? “The candidates are just riding the wave of the world and telling people what they want to hear, but not actually believing it.”

“Yes, I am a Black woman in America. Everything President Trump says and stands for goes against my rights as a woman.”

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“No, I have better things to do.” Tim Jackson, of Orlando, Fla., an investor, said when asked if he were voting. Jackson said he watched the first presidential debate and last week’s second round of dueling presidential town halls.

His concerns regarding this year’s election? “Both candidates have proven to be racists. [Then-Sen.] Biden’s 1988 crack bill and 1994 crime bill has led to mass incarceration.”

Is it important to vote? Jackson was asked.

He answered, “It’s not. It’s used to make people think they have a voice. Hillary [Clinton] won the [2016] popular vote, but lost the election. In this case, your vote doesn’t matter.

“What better way to enslave a man than to give him a vote and tell him he’s free?”

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Deniece Howell, of Tallahassee, Fla., a tax auditor, said she is voting and has watched the presidential debates.

“Many questions went unanswered,” said Howell. “The debates were uninformative and more of a personality contest.

“My primary concern is for the Black community. I feel that we’re in a lose/lose situation. The other concern is regarding the Affordable Care Act. I want to know where both sides stand.

“At 18, I went off to college and voted via absentee ballot. Later, it was said that Florida’s mail-ins weren’t counted. I’d never felt so defeated.

“For me, it’s a simple right, and a chance at my voice to be heard.”

So, on Nov. 3, what impact will Howell’s vote have on society?

“I’m not sure,” Howell said. “But I am raising a son. It’s important to show him that it’s his duty to vote. It’s a means to get like-minded people in office with hopes for change.”

Briggs is a student at the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication.

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