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NJ voters get ready for mail-in voting

Christine Clarke stands in front of the Rockaway Township municipal complex in New Jersey with ballot in hand on September 27, 2020. Photo courtesy, Christine Clarke

Ahead of the presidential election, New Jersey voters shared what prompted them to cast their ballot by mail and what drove them to vote.

“I prefer to vote from the comfort of my own home without feeling rushed to fill out my ballot,”Marian Hervias, a student at Seton Hall University said.

 Hervias was brought up in a democratic household, but is going to cast her vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. She said she wants to make an impact by voting. 

“I think my moral belief drove me to vote this election,” Hervias said. “I know faith and politics tend to clash, but if I stand for something, I am not going to stay quiet about it. As a Catholic, life is very valuable to me and if voting has something to do with protecting it, then I will vote for pro-life. Meaning, my vote is for Trump.” 

According to NJ Spotlight News, about 4 million ballots are expected to be cast, and nearly all of them are likely to be mailed in or dropped off at secure locations. 

Ever since she was eligible to vote, Nikita Bendre, a resident of Edison in Middlesex county and a senior at Rutgers University–Newark said she has opted to get the ballot in the mail. 

“It just suits my schedule better and gives me flexibility,” Bendre said. “Plus, I want to take COVID precautions and I do wish to go out in a crowd. If there also happens to be an even safer option for voting, I am all for it.” 

There is a possibility that mail-in ballots will lead to fraud, Hervias thinks, and she is afraid that her vote will not count. 

“Anything can be skewed based on who will be handling the ballots,” Hervias said. “I definitely think there will be some flaws, but that is not going to deter me from casting my vote by mail.” 

In accordance with the Associated Press, Trump’s now-disbanded voting integrity commission uncovered no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud

While voters are just opting in for mail-in voting this election season, Christine Clarke, an environmental advocate and a mother of four, signed up for it a few years ago. 

“I signed up because I liked the privilege of voting early,” Clarke said. “I liked knowing that I could cast my vote safely and securily by a trackable and non-hackable paper ballot. And then volunteer my time on election day helping other people to vote.”  

A democratic young voter and resident in North Jersey, Javon Brown, views voting as a duty to participate in democracy. He said neither the presidential debate nor his parents will sway which way he votes. 

“At first while growing up, my parents’ teachings did influence me,” Brown said. “But now, they don’t. I choose to mail in my ballot because going to a crowded poll is counterproductive to efforts trying to end the pandemic.” 

One way we can control the narrative of our nation’s character is if we all go out and vote Clarke said. 

Ricky Castaneda, a senior at Rutgers-Newark echoed the words of Clarke. He believes voting shouldn’t be taken for granted because not everyone is able to exercise that right. 

“No matter who you want to vote for, just make sure you go out and vote,” Castaneda said. “ Voting is a very small step, but the impact it has is worthwhile.”