Rowan Students React to the 2020 Election

Senior Michael Giuliani offers students information on voting registration, #RowanVotes' voter registration booth. - Multimedia Editor / Alexander Rossen

Editor’s Note: This article has been written as of Nov. 4, 2020, before all ballots have been counted in all states. Some generalizations or opinions expressed by students may therefore not represent factual information about the election.

The 2020 election saw a number of races on scales both local and national. Included on the ballot for New Jerseans was the presidential race between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, every House seat and referendums, such as Proposition 1 to decide the statewide legalization of marijuana.

Angie Bennett, Junior, Early Childhood Education & Literacy Studies

“I honestly think it is a big mess,” Bennett said of the election process. “Finding out about the over 300,000 ballots that are missing right now is ridiculous, because we are more than this, we’re more than what’s happening. Our country can handle this, but it seems as though it’s not doing a very good job.”

However, she was positive about the passing of Proposition 1 on New Jersey ballots.

“I was very glad to find out about the legalization of marijuana,” she said. “Specifically, I think that it’s going to help us bring more money into our state. Also, it’s already been decriminalized, but I think that people are going to see it in a much lighter way. I think that it should be seen and treated just as alcohol is – and I think that we’re on the way to that.”

Thomas DeGroat, Senior, Electrical and Computer Engineering

“Third party votes shouldn’t be villainized,” DeGroat said, noting that he’s seen criticism of voting for third party candidates on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok. “Third party votes are said to be a vote for another candidate, when they could be a common ground when given a choice between awful [main-party] candidates.”

DeGroat added that he found some of the handling of the election to be inconsistent.

“Mail-in ballots seemed to be handled fine,” he said. “However, when counting, there have been fishy things happening, such as as in Michigan, an extra zero was added on the Democrats’ vote tally, and votes to amount of registered voters is not matching in some counties.”

Ben Zierdt, Senior, Electrical and Computer Engineering

“I’m surprised it was as close as it is again,” Zierdt said. “Even in 2016, the polls were closer. Hillary was up 3-4 points, and this time Biden was up 7-8 points from the polls I saw. Even accounting for a Trump shift in in-person votes and a 2016-type shift to the right, it’s shocking it’s coming down this close.”

Though noting that is still too close to make a call for the presidential race, Zierdt added that he was surprised by how wide the margins (roughly 70% in favor of legalization) were on NJ’s Proposition 1.

“I am personally glad it got passed,” he said, “and am interested in the exact legislation they are going to draw up.”

Owen O’Brien, Sophomore, Journalism

“I’m personally ecstatic over NJ’s decision to legalize marijuana, which is the only silver lining in this process so far,” O’Brien said, echoing the positivity toward Proposition 1 of the other Rowan students interviewed for this article.

He also echoed their disappointment in the overall handling of the election process.

“I was confident that Biden would win, not necessarily in a landslide, but decisively,” he said. “That’s not going to happen. If he wins, it’ll be by a razor thin margin, which puts us in a really weird and difficult position overall. This has only compounded my worries over where the country is headed over the next few years.”

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