Special Report

America Votes

Students strategize on mail-in or in-person voting 

Students question whether voting by mail is reliable

University of Nevada Reno student Walker Resne, sits proudly in his off-campus apartment wearing a blue “my rights don’t end where your feelings begin” sweatshirt. Three days before the election, Resney plans to vote in-person on election day in Douglas County, willing to endure long lines.

The big decision for many college students is not who they will vote for but how they will cast their ballot. Many are taking into account the difficulties and reliability of mail-in ballots and risks of voting in-person during a pandemic.  

A Trump supporter, Resney has a strong distrust of mail-in ballots.  “Mail-in ballots are tossed in the trash,” he said. “Most people I know are voting in-person on the day.”

Safety and health are not a concern for Resney. “I’ll wear a mask for older people,” he said. “What would happen if I got it? It would be like two days of a dry throat, and then I’d be fine.”

Rachel Meyer, a biology student at the University of Nevada, voted in-person Oct. 29, choosing early voting to avoid lines on election day. “If the wait is longer than an hour, good luck getting me to wait in line,” Meyer said, laughing.

Like Resney, she believes that a mail-in ballot would either get lost or not be counted.. A Republican, along with her close and extended family, Meyer pointed to ballots tossed out in the primary election. About 6,700 ballots were thrown out in Nevada’s primary election because election officials couldn’t verify voter signatures, a Washington Post investigation concluded. 

Meyer found the voting process “super clean.” Poll workers wore masks and gloves, and made her feel very safe, Meyer said. Nevada early voting polls are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Meyer didn’t wait on line at 8 p.m. when she went to vote with her father and sister.

David Hiott, a student at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx, decided to vote by mail. “I voted by mail because I don’t really care all that much if it doesn’t get counted or gets lost or something. I know Delaware will vote blue.” Former vice president Joe Biden was a Senator from Delaware, and the state has voted blue since 1992. Hiott believes that most people in Delaware are voting for Biden, except those on the coast. 

On-campus for the fall semester, Hiott also chose to vote by mail for his safety, afraid of getting sick and bringing COVID back to campus. “My roommate has a weak immune system, and I’ve heard it affects people differently,” Hiott said. “If I don’t have to risk getting sick, I’m not going to.” 



Other Stories in Special Report: America Votes

America Celebrates the Election

The staff of Pavement Pieces November 11, 2020

New York celebrates historic win

Thomas Hengge November 8, 2020


Tori Luecking November 7, 2020

Biden win brings relief

Addison Aloian November 7, 2020

The energy of Election Day in New York City

Tori Luecking November 6, 2020

Boarded up, buttons for sale and a Republican viewing party on Election Day in NYC

Michelle Diaz November 6, 2020

Pennsylvania race narrows

Courtney Guarino November 5, 2020

Arab Americans of Dearborn vote Biden

Quratulain Tejani November 4, 2020

Amid national tension and uncertainty, Joe Biden scores big in Michigan.

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi November 4, 2020

Three black women, three walks of life, one presidential election

Jada Okoye November 4, 2020

Voting in Clifton, New Jersey

Kaity Assaf November 3, 2020

Taking the temperature of voters

Journalistic Inquiry November 3, 2020

Students wait and watch

Lana Green November 3, 2020

Following American politics from the other side of the pond

Lexi Hobbs November 3, 2020

Union Square polling site sees lower turnout, but passionate voters

Yunlai Silvia Gui and Yi Lily Yang November 3, 2020

Early voter visits Texas polling site Election Day to support sister on the ballot

Zoya Hasan November 3, 2020

Voting For The Lesser Of Two Evils

Kirill Bykanov November 3, 2020

NYU student flies over a thousand miles to vote

Addison Aloian November 3, 2020

Two coasts, two Biden votes

Bry Leberthon November 3, 2020

Young voter from Maryland can’t find meaning in the vote

Vanessa Handy November 3, 2020

 Bilingual coordinator in Yonkers, N.Y. helps Spanish-speakers vote

Maria Jinu Kulapurathazhe November 3, 2020

Americans in China Watch and Worry

Jennifer Ren November 3, 2020

To some voters in Stuytown, the president is “deplorable”

Michael Morris November 3, 2020

Election Day

Photojournalism Class Project November 3, 2020

Soho Trump supporter cast his vote

Mengyang Zeng November 3, 2020

Voting in Lower Manhattan

Paola Michelle Ortiz November 3, 2020

New Yorkers on edge as the city prepares for a turbulent election night

Emily Welsch November 3, 2020

Denise Scudder says the stakes are high for Black Voters

Calen Razor November 3, 2020

In 2020, Election Day may rhyme with unrest. At least, that’s what officials fear

Edith Rousselot November 3, 2020

Brooklyn polling site sees small crowd on Election Day

Alessandro Malave November 3, 2020

First time voter ponders America’s future

Marie Louise Onga Nana November 3, 2020

Masked, Boarded Up, and Subdued: Election Day in Times Square

James Pothen November 3, 2020

NYU student casts ballot for Biden-Harris campaign 

Angela Choe November 3, 2020

New Yorkers are ready to VOTE

Photojournalism Class Project November 3, 2020

West Village streets quiet as voters brace for outcome

Abby Rupert November 3, 2020

Virginia Prepares for a Turbulent Election

Julia Gregory November 3, 2020

The Message of “Law and Order” Resonates with TriBeCa Mother

Michael Campanella November 3, 2020

Latino voter chooses Trump

Emma Shores November 3, 2020

Poll worker keeps it moving

Norah Hogan November 3, 2020

NYU sophomore casts ballot for Biden at dorm polling station

Sofya Akcayoglu November 3, 2020

Elderly black voter does not take the right for granted

Nya Etienne November 3, 2020

A reluctant voter makes a choice

Shivani Chauhan November 3, 2020

Smoke clears over Bay Area as voters take to the polls

Karina Gamez November 3, 2020

Fears of violence in the aftermath of Election Day have citizens uneasy

Mikayla Rivers November 3, 2020

First time voters in Long Island worry about election outcome 

Christina Strippoli November 3, 2020

The pandemic can’t stop Generation Z from voting

Jaeguk Lee November 3, 2020

Trump Tower mail in voter for Biden

Shea Grant November 2, 2020

For some, early voting means long lines and lots of rain

Vaishnavi Naidu November 2, 2020

Harlem sees rain showers, fast lines ahead of Election Day

Hanna Gebremichael November 1, 2020