Special Report

America Votes

Taking the temperature of voters

Many people are distressed by boarded up stores and the threat of riots

Several journalism students reached out to friends and family and people within six degrees of separation to gauge the mood in the final days and hours of a most contentious election in a most difficult time. Here’s what they found:

Despite relentless rain and low temperatures, New Yorkers stood in lines for hours last week to cast their 2020 ballots early.  Early voting began on October 24 and ended on November 1. At some locations, lines wrapped around the block and voters waited for several hours in the cold and wet.

In spite of the weather, early voters were determined to get their ballots in. Some voters encountered no lines; others waited for 50 to 90 minutes.

When asked how they had felt waiting in line, two voters who each waited for more than an hour said, “Cold.” Another responded, “Alert and ready to move the national conversation forward.”

“It was generally positive and hopeful,” said one voter, Mike, 35, who waited for three hours.

Daniel, 33, had a similar experience. “It was pretty upbeat, only heard one person complaining,” he said. “There were volunteers giving out water, chips, and sandwiches.”

The contentious nature of this particular election means voters have a variety of reasons for wanting to vote so early. Some, like Mike, say they always vote in every election, local or national, and simply wanted to avoid COVID-19. But for others, this election was too important to risk not being able to vote in.

“The integrity of our country is at stake,” said one voter.

Another said, “I would us to remain a democracy.”

Others plainly stated their reasoning being, with some expletives, Donald Trump.

In the end, more than 1.1 million New Yorkers cast their ballots during the early voting period.

–By Julia Gregory


The anxiety and stress levels of the average America are running high with the uncertainty around the election on top of the Covid chaos.

Michele Dabney, 53, mother of two and California resident, explained her need to get out of the house and go for walks to distract herself from the state of our country and lives.

“We are all so disconnected and torn apart as a nation,” she said. She  worried that “the aftermath of either decision will be chaotic, but the amount of anger riled up in people, can be and will be extremely concerning.”

Feeling the high stress levels as well is New York University student, Olivia Ebner, 20, who notes how this is unlike any election in our history. She mentioned that  social media sites are now applying a warning if either candidate claims they have won prematurely.

“There is a good chance Trump is going to announce he won before all the votes are counted,” Ebner said. She fears him threatening to refuse the result of the election. “This is insane,” she said. “In our constitution it literally says it must be a peaceful transfer of power, no other president has ever threatened this.”   —By Julia Wiggs


The coronavirus pandemic and the Trump presidency that preoccupied the United States and much of the world this year have finally met face to face today.

We asked some local residents to share their thoughst on this Election Day:

Janice McGaurd, 37, attorney

“This election, for me, is an easy choice. I would vote for Donald Duck over Donald Trump. I want to remove a president who threatens our democracy. And because of that I’m not just voting against Trump, I’m voting for his opponent.”

Tudor Sanchez, 55, journalist

“As a journalist for over 30 years, I cringe at Trump’s and the way he looks down on the media, and his unending refrain that any media coverage with which he disagrees is ‘fake news.’ The media has its challenges, and there are legitimate concerns with fabricated fictions being passed off as news. But the many people I know in the media world are universally devoted to helping readers, listeners, and viewers understand the world around them better.”

River Hodson, 32, plumber

“I don’t believe Donald Trump is racist. I wouldn’t be voting for him if I believed he was racist. This year, I’m proudly voting for him based on the promises he’s kept and the leadership he’s shown over the last three and a half years. In fact, a majority of voters say they’re better off now than they were four years ago, even after eight months of a pandemic.”

“The choice is between two different Americas. The question is, which America do you want your kids to grow up in?”   –By Bielka Aime

Fearing the aftermath of today’s election results, New York City is closing up and some residents are taking shelter in their homes. Streets are quiet now while building windows are being boarded up.

“I’m not leaving my apartment because New York is the root for so much of what happens in America,” says Lindsay Dievert, a freshman at New York University. “And no matter the outcome, there will be violence.”

The recent protests and riots that have been taking place across the entirety of America have instilled more alarm in the people. “Especially with what’s been happening the past few months, I don’t want to risk getting caught in the violence,” says Bill Hoffman, a New York University sophomore. “People aren’t scared to express their feelings, and the election response is only going to further that fearlessness.”   —By Rachel Nazar



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 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

Students wait and watch

Lana Green November 3, 2020

Students strategize on mail-in or in-person voting 

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