Edit Desk: For the first time


Clare Fonstein

I recently went back and read my diary entry from the day after the 2016 presidential election. I was in my junior year of high school, and in the entry, there was a significant amount of swearing as well as a legitimate fear that the world would end in the near future and I would die a fiery death by climate change.  

I, along with many other people, didn’t think that President Donald Trump would end up as president. I went to a predominantly liberal school and I come from a liberal family, so it was all Clinton on my end. 

At the time of the election, I was also taking an environmental science class, and my teacher did not sugar coat anything in regards to where the earth is headed. Four years later, it’s still not looking good. 

It was a very solemn day after he won. The other notable events that I wrote down from that day in my diary were that my face was apparently feeling especially round and I took part two of my pre-calc test, which I described as impossible. So, more coal in the fire of teenage anxiety. 

Flash forward four years, though, I am a junior in college. I probably did bad on another one of my math tests this week, my round face stays on lockdown under my COVID-19 mask and I voted in my first presidential election.

I am also still very scared of dying a fiery death by climate change, which seems like even more of a possible reality than it did in 2016 considering the West Coast annually goes up in flames. 

Voting felt like a big moment to me. I did in-person early voting at the Northampton County Courthouse. I chose to do it early because it took a lot of the stress off of what I imagine I would have felt on Election Day, since with early voting if something went wrong or if there was an issue with my registration all of that could be fixed right then and there, and I wouldn’t have to worry about my vote not getting in. 

There isn’t an issue with voting on Election Day by any means. I just feel paranoid about my vote not getting in. If something were to happen on Election Day and I was unable to get my vote in I would have felt personally responsible for whatever were to come for the next four years. My family and friends would also probably no longer speak to me. So, all in all, early voting was the most attractive option for me. 

People voting in Lehigh’s county, Northampton, can vote early in-person up until Oct. 27 at the Northampton County Elections Office. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 19, but up until then you can register, apply for a ballot and vote all in the same trip.

I went with two of my friends, one of them being Data Editor Jenna Simon, who told me that she would like credit for both sharing the information on in-person early voting with me and helping me decide on this topic for my edit desk. Thank you Jenna, I would be nowhere without you. 

The whole experience going in-person was exciting. It felt like going on a field trip. You need to bring a copy of your ID, and if you don’t have a Pennsylvania driver’s license, then know the last four digits of your Social Security number to fill out the forms. I filled in my ballot and double checked it about 30 times to make sure I colored in the correct bubble before sealing it in the envelope and handing it back. Not a mistake I want to make. I got a sticker and was on my way. 

Not that you probably haven’t seen it on a million Instagram stories by now, but whatever the method, vote! Lehigh is in a swing county in a swing state, so if anyone’s vote were to count, it would be ours. Early and in-person is a foolproof way to get it done. More information can be found here.  

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  1. Claire,
    By all means vote, but do you pay Northampton County or Pennsylvania taxes? You will be gone in a couple of years. Why should you screw up my life with your uninformed vote? Vote at home and screw up your parents lives!

  2. The snowflakes of 2016 remain snowflakes 4 years later. Lehigh has not become a calming environment. Instead it adds to the anxiety with liberal Profs teaching liberals to keep exaggerating everything into a crisis.

    Global warming forecasters talk Bethlehem climate becoming that of Richmond Va. what a wonderful thing that would be!!

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