New York voters express their hopes and fears for the 2020 Election

As election day is quickly approaching, the urgency to get out and vote is clear on both sides. Many feel it’s a do or die situation, whether to have the country lose sight of the American dream or to lose crucial rights for all people. It’s a terrifying thought for the left and right to see the future under opposite rule. 

These are New York voters and these are their hopes and fears for the upcoming election. 

Barbara de Bellis

Barbara de Bellis stands in line waiting for early voting, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Barabara de Bellis, a retired New York math teacher, and self-proclaimed liberal stood outside waiting at a Manhattan early polling place to cast her 13th presidential vote. De Bellis was part of the first group of 18-year-olds to vote in the 1972 presidential election following the ratification of the 26th Amendment which lowered the legal voting age from 21 to 18. She has voted in every election after, and has never felt an election has been more crucial than this one. 

“I’m gay, I’m a woman, I’m old. But we need to protect everybody, absolutely everybody, people of color, genderqueer, everybody. My father was Italian and grew up under Mussolini and I see everything happening again.”

John McGuigan

John McGuigan, a President Trump supporter stands in a “Gays For Trump” shirt at a Trump gathering at Herald Square, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

John McGuigan, a tall man with a confident, yet peppy gait walked around interacting happily with other Trump supporters. He wore mascara and had a huge grin on his face as if relieved and somewhat excited to be surrounded by other people who shared the same sentiments of confirmation and proudness of the current president. 

“God, I hope Trump gets elected because our economy was booming and he’s going to be able to come up with this vaccine to battle this damn China virus. My hope is that we won’t have to wear masks much longer, that we won’t have to keep a social distance, and that we don’t turn into a socialist country, which is what the Democrats want and what Biden is aiming for. I don’t want to live in a socialist country. I want freedom.”

La’nette Murphy

La’nette Murphy stands holding a sign outside early polling place waiting to vote, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

La’nette Murphy chose to stand in a line that wrapped around a few blocks waiting to vote early because she feared someone might throw away her ballot. 

“I hope that it’s fair, and I hope that every vote is counted, and I hope that Donald Trump gets out of office, that’s my hope. My fear is that he will use the Supreme Court to try to overturn the election, or he will try to say that it wasn’t fair, or those absentee ballots.”

Justin Piper

Justin Piper stands waving two flags at a Trump gathering at Herald Garden, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Justin Piper stood in Herald Square proudly waving two flags in support of Trump. As a gun owner, he feels the right to bear arms is in danger if Biden and Harris win the election. He received a lot of backlash from onlookers for being a black man in support of Trump, but he responded that he believes the current administration has done the most for the black community. 

“My greatest hope for the future election is that our President Donald J. Trump does win, and not only that, that he will continue to fulfill his promises that he’s been making for all people. My greatest fear is that, shall our president lose, which is my biggest hope he doesn’t, a lot of the freedoms that we have our Second Amendment rights, our freedom of religion, our freedom of expression would be lost.”

Penelope Miller

Penelope Miller, a sports photojournalist, stands wearing a “vote” face mask at Washington Square Park, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Penelope Miller stood in Washington Square Park with an “I voted early” sticker on the collar of her jacket and a “Vote” facemask. As a female sports photojournalist in a male-dominated field, Penelope Miller is not new to the effects of a system that doesn’t work for women. She feels the only way to make her voice heard is by voting. 

“I feel like the very foundation of the rule of law is threatened. There is only one solution to that and that is voting, and voting Donald Trump out of office. [My fear is] That Donald Trump will be re-elected, that minorities will continue to see their rights diminished, that women will continue to be robbed of the rights to their own bodies. It’s a zero-sum game at this point. The American public wins or it loses and there’s only one way it wins and that’s by voting Donald Trump out of office.”

Juliet Germanotta

Juliet Germanotta stands with a “white power” hand sign, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Juliet Germanotta walked past the line of early voters at Madison Square Garden on her way to a Trump gathering unmasked and wearing a Trump 2020 shirt. As a Democrat socialist turned proud Republican, Germanotta feels Trump has done a great job in raising the economy and worries that a Biden administration would tear apart the progress. She proudly held up a “white power” hand sign for the photo as people in line yelled at her for not wearing a face mask. 

“Hopefully, we vote red across the board because as a democrat socialist myself, I’m tired of what the Democrats been doing to our country and it took Trump…to open me up to what’s really going on. My great grandparents came here from a communist country and I’ve heard stories about that my whole life and I fear that that’s what’s going to happen under the Biden administration.”

Mark Leydorf and Elissa Stein

Mark Leydorf and Elissa Stein part of Sing Out, Louise!, a resistance “queertet” choir, stand together in Washington Square Park, October 17, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Mark Leydorf and Elissa Stein, members of a “queertet” known as Sing Out, Liouise! Stood stood in front of the fountain in Washington Square Park wearing accented pink pins and sashes urging people to vote. They sang parodied lyrics to Christmas tunes about their anger with the current presidential administration and how important it is to vote them out. 


“We hope that everybody goes out and votes. Because our voting is our voices, and if we all get up and speak up and stand up and shout back we will win. When the Democrats are in charge, it doesn’t mean everything will be magically better and go away.”


“My fear is that people don’t recognize the moment the country is in and they’ll sit this one out or they’ll think, you know, Biden isn’t good enough…because we’ve done that before in our history. But never before have the stakes been so high.

Robert Burck

Robert Burck, “The Naked Cowboy,” stands flexing his arms, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Robert Burck, notably known as, The Naked Cowboy, traded the old stickers on his guitar for ones that showed his support for Trump. Burck has not strayed from his political upbringing where he was raised in a red state and his veteran father acted as the chair of a Republican Party.

“Trump’s going to win by a landslide, over 25% of the black vote for the first time in Republican history. America’s going to continue to move on, the stock market’s going to grow, the economy’s going to grow, we’re going to continue to keep the regulations down, we’re going to take care of China. And we’re not going to have a completely corrupt politician like Joe Biden, just like Obama, and the rest of them they’re not going to be in charge anymore. Trump’s an American and takes care of America. It’s going to be amazing.”

Josephine Son

Josephine Son stands outside waiting for early voting at Madison Square Garden, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Josephine Son, a volunteer for The Bowery Mission, an organization that serves the homeless and hungry saw the number of people who came for lunch nearly double since the beginning of the pandemic. Her philosophy is to do what you can, and voting in this election is part of the way she can do. 

“[I hope] To move forward as a country and just be better. I’m hopeful for the first time in a very long time. I’m actually not afraid of the racists, I’m afraid of the people who are too scared or apathetic to do something. My greatest fear is that those people remain apathetic or remain scared. And that’s what’s going to bring our country down, inaction.”

Hedy Aldina 

Hedy Aldina, stands in Trump attire at a Trump gathering at Herald Square, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Hedy Aldina eagerly shared her support for Trump with a little bejeweled gun ring on her finger, an American flag scarf wrapped around her shoulders, pins and stickers with “Blue Lives Matter,” and a “Make America Great Again” hat. 

“Trump wins, that’s my greatest hope. That’s my only wish. I say my prayers like I’ve never said them before. I know legitimately that he will win the race. [My fear is] That the Democrats have some tricks up their sleeve and they’re ready to commit a lot of fraud to get Biden in…It’s either socialism and communism or Trump 2020.”

Amanda M Rodriguez

Amanda M Rodriguez stands outside waiting to vote early at Madison Square Garden, October 24, 2020. Photo by Inga Parkel

Amanda M Rodriguez stood in line at Madison Square Garden’s early polling place to cast her ballot. She believes that her right to vote, although won’t benefit her directly, will benefit those around her and she feels that’s enough. Her 77-year-old neighbor, a retired garment industry worker, receives a small social security check and medicare each month, but that doesn’t nearly cover enough of her needs. Rodriguez questions how America can be considered the greatest country when it doesn’t properly support its citizens. 

“In this country what I hope for will never benefit me, what I vote for, when I cast a ballot, none of that will ever happen for me. So when I vote, I do it for my nephews, my nieces, my 77-year-old neighbor who relies on Medicare. I fear for the same people that I’m voting for today. I fear for them. I fear for all those hard-working Americans.”