By Students of New York University Wagner and Law

On Election Day, NYU Wagner Review highlights voter testimonies from graduate students at NYU Wagner and NYU Law. These quotes will cover a range of students who are first-time and repeat voters in the U.S. Presidential Elections.

With our current political climate and 96 million Americans participating in early voting nationwide—breaking records in many states across the U.S.—to call the 2020 election a historic one would be an understatement. With high levels of political division and partisanship it is imperative, now more than ever, that voters are equipped with the resources and knowledge to get out the vote.


“I vote in order to honor my ancestors and defend my lineage. The right to be viewed as a political being was not, historically, offered to people who look like me. I am offered that opportunity today because of those who fought for me, and I use that opportunity in order to fight for those who come after me.

By Jasmine Ann Jeffers ’22

“I’m voting because, while slow and imperfect, voting is one of the most powerful levers we have. Although it is an imprecise tool for making the world we want, it is a powerful one. All of the changes we want to see occur are hugely affected by the candidates who are elected to office, at every level of the ballot. Voting is not sufficient, but voting is absolutely necessary.” 

By Chris Shenton ’21

I’m voting because I believe everyone should be able to offer access free healthcare when they’re sick. I believe in a justice system that serves its people. I believe in taking care of our planet so it can continue to care for us. I believe everyone should be able to earn a living wage. I believe housing and education are basic human rights. I believe we should have compassion for our neighbors. I believe in equity. Finally, I believe that we can only achieve a truly equitable society when everyone’s voices are heard. Our votes are our voices – they matter, and we must speak up.

By Alexis Richards ’21

“I’m voting to create a better world. From climate change to voter suppression this country faced immense challenges and I want to ensure there are leaders in office who actually care about these things and will work to address them. The last four years has shown us all how much our vote can matter. Others have died for us to have these rights so we owe it to them to use them.”

By Martin Ascher ’20

I’m voting because it is an honor to exercise the right that so many Americans have struggled and died to protect and expand. There are countless issues facing our country and the world which makes the honor of exercising the right to vote all the more honorable and urgent.

By Abraham Nelson ’21

“I’m voting because it is important that national security agencies are equipped with the resources necessary to protect our nation, while shielding intelligence from political influence. It’s critical that both domestic and international terrorist don’t have a chance to undermine American democracy.”

By Tiffany Rose Miller ’21

I vote to carry on my family’s legacy. Most of my family did not have the ability to vote; either because of laws that prohibited them, or because they were awaiting to receive their citizenship. I’ve had ancestors sacrifice their life so I can have my basic human rights. In this election, I have encouraged others to join me in voting to protect the rights my ancestors fought for. Without my vote, I am putting many human rights at risk, such as immigration rights, health care, climate change, and criminal reform. The right to vote was engraved in me from my grandfather. Him and I watched Barack Obama campaign in Coastal Carolina in 2008. My grandfather was overwhelmed with joy because he never imagined he would have the right to vote for the first Black President, while hearing him campaign in person with his grandson.

By Darren Jones ’22

“I am voting because I believe it is my civic duty to ensure that there is experienced and empathetic leadership within our government. This year was different because it was my first time voting for president, and as a U.S. citizen born and raised on Guam where residents are among the millions of disenfranchised U.S. citizens living in U.S. territories who can’t vote for president – this was a right and privilege I didn’t want to neglect. Immigrant rights, reproductive health care, climate change, criminal justice reform, and to achieve successful health and financial recovery from COVID-19 as a nation; that is what is at stake in this election. A wise woman once said that, the power of our voice is through our vote â€“ let us all exercise that right for the communities we are from and continue to serve.

By Maria Allyn Dolojan ’22

I’m voting because as a First-Generation American and Student, I want to make sure others in my situation have as many opportunities for growth and success as possible, and those like my parents are able to come to this country and provide a better life for their families.

By Daniela Moreira ’22

“Voting is my way of taking a stand for what I believe in and the type of country I want to live in. The ability to vote is a right that not everyone has. Who am I to scoff at that and not vote? Brave and selfless women before me fought hard for this right, and every time I vote I honor them.” 

By Jacquelyn Spade ’21

“I have voted every year since I turned 18 to afford our generation a fairer and brighter future through policies of economic justice. My vote is my voice, telling all my elected representatives, from town council to President, that we need a higher minimum wage, stronger safety net, and robust environmental protection to ensure a quality future for our nation. Every election matters and it could not be more apparent in 2020.”

By Sam Berzok ’22

I’m voting because I earned the right to vote when I became a US citizen. My immigration journey was straightforward but I know that my story is the exception, not the rule. There are people who have been here much longer than I have but their voices “don’t” count- I need to advocate on behalf of those who cannot. While it may not seem like it, the power of the people is stronger than the people in power!

By Jennifer Oh ’21

I vote because it is my obligation to engage in and uphold the democratic process. I am voting this time in particular to do my part to elect officials who will represent my values and lead with dignity and respect for all people regardless of background, beliefs, socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexual orientation — the list goes on!

By Emily Ralic-Moore ’21

I participate in every election as a child of immigrants and as a woman: acknowledging the sacrifices of others that granted me the right to vote. This year, I’m voting in honor of my grandfather and the 229,000+ loved ones lost in the U.S. alone to COVID-19. I’m voting for racial justice and climate action. Our ballots aren’t for the candidates, they are for our future.

By Sarina S. Noone ’22

I am voting for our future. As a woman, I’m voting for women’s rights. As the daughter of an immigrant, I’m voting for immigrant rights. As a theatre professional, I’m voting for relief for all of the arts workers unemployed due to COVID-19. As a teacher and student, I’m voting for investing in education. For healthcare. To restore our economy. For criminal justice reform. For a clean energy revolution. To save democracy.

By Brídín Clements ’22

“I’m voting because democracy is not a spectator sport. We all have the right and responsibility to make sure our voices are heard when important decisions are being made. I’m voting because I want to ensure that our elected representatives are creating an equitable, just world that we will be proud to pass down to future generations.

By Lara Fu ’21

I am voting because apathy is not an option. In exercising our right to vote we take an important step towards confronting the systemic and structural changes that must be to create a more equitable and just society. The current administration has waged an intentional war against human rights and dignity. This election is about more than civic engagement, rather it is a fight for the soul of our nation.

By Maggie Slowey ’21

I’m voting because four more years of the current administration will do irreparable harm to our planet, our communities, and our collective future. I’m voting because we need a president who understands the magnitude of the challenges we are facing and who will create policies to address these issues. We need a president who can optimistically look to the future while acknowledging that systemic racism and white supremacy are real. I’m voting because our country is burning down–metaphorically and physically–and we must act now to stop it. I’m voting because my reusable bags and metal straws will not be enough to fight climate change; instead, we need a president who will hold corporations accountable for their reckless environmental degradation. I’m voting because our grassroots movements will overpower institutions and we will make our voices heard.

By Jessie Miller ’21

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Featured Image Credit: SHUTTERSHOCK