Seniors Ponder Voting Methods

Marian Steinmann, Staff Writer

With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon and a global pandemic underway, U.S. citizens must make plans for how to make their votes count.

The threat of COVID-19 may keep people in their homes this November, but there’s still a way they can vote without risking exposure at the polls: mail-in voting.

Mail-in voting provides an alternative to crowds of people flocking to their polling locations and risking the spread of COVID-19, but recent U.S. Postal Service policy changes have raised concerns.

Many Americans began to worry about mailing in their ballots when the USPS admitted that delivery delays could cause some ballots to be disqualified. The delays are a result of the changes put into effect by the new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy.

When DeJoy took office as postmaster general in June, he began to implement numerous policies, some of which included disposing of 10 percent of the sorting machines and prohibiting postal employees from working overtime. These changes were made in the hope of reducing the financial burden that the USPS has placed on the economy.

With Americans relying more and more on texts, emails and social media for communication, the USPS has been struggling to stay afloat for years. In a press conference on Aug. 7, DeJoy said that the Postal Service is on track to lose $11 billion in 2020.

However, some Americans doubt that finances were the true motivation behind the reforms. Speculation began to circulate that the mail delay was a deliberate move to tamper with the upcoming election.

In light of these concerns, senior Bailee Nail has decided to take the risk and vote in person on Nov. 3.

“If it wasn’t for the issue that your mail-in vote could get messed up,” Nail said, “I would’ve considered just mailing it in.”

Nail isn’t the only senior to make this decision. Senior Maria Orozco-Araujo doesn’t believe that DeJoy’s policies were intended to affect the election, but she does have other concerns.

“I didn’t consider mail-in at all before, but as the pandemic gets worse, I feel it’s a safer option,” Orozco-Araujo said. Despite health concerns, she plans to vote at the polls to avoid potential problems.

Senior Kenna Wyatt will also do whatever it takes to be able to vote, but her plans rely on the positivity rates in Madison County.

“While I understand there can be some flaws with the system, if [mailing in] is the only way I can vote safely, then that is what I will do,” Wyatt said.

Many of Edwardsville’s seniors are already deciding how they will vote this November, and millions across the nation will ultimately face the same dilemma. As for those who choose to mail in their ballots, DeJoy remains confident that the USPS will be able to deliver and that each ballot will be counted.

“Extremely highly confident,” Dejoy said. “We will scour every, every plant… each night leading up to election day.”