First-time voters look forward to casting their ballots


The 2020 election has provided many Lehigh students with the opportunity to exercise their right to vote for the first time.

Kevin Moore, ‘21 votes early at the Northampton County Courthouse in Easton on Oct. 27. Moore was among many Lehigh students who changed their registration from their home state to Pennsylvania. (Courtesy of Kevin Moore)

Kevin Moore, ‘21, and Danielle Gibalerio, ‘21, both voted early at the Northampton County Courthouse in Easton.

Moore, who waited about 90 minutes to cast his vote last week, said he was excited to vote in Pennsylvania because it’s a swing state. 

Previously registered in his home state of Massachusetts, Moore was able to change his registration status to Pennsylvania to ensure his vote had “more of an impact” on the outcome of the election.  

Gibalerio said she waited for about 40 minutes and was glad she went early, thinking it would have been a longer wait if she went on Election Day on Nov. 3. 

Like Moore, Gibalerio was registered in her home state of Rhode Island and switched to Pennsylvania in early October. 

“Rhode Island always goes blue, and I figured my vote would matter more here,” Gilbalerio said. 

Robby Griswold, ‘21, hasn’t voted yet and is waiting for his absentee ballot to vote in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where he is from.

Robby Griswold, ‘21, holds his absentee ballot for Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where he is from. Griswold believes it is the duty of U.S. citizens to vote. (Courtesy of Robby Griswold)

“I think it’s a duty as a citizen and as someone who lives in the U.S.,” Griswold said. “Not everyone has this right to be able to choose their leaders even today, so I know it’s kind of cliché, but I just feel like it’s kind of like an obligation.” 

Moore said he made sure everyone in his house, as well as his close friends, were registered to vote.

“Well, I hate Donald Trump,” Moore said about his thoughts on this year’s presidential candidates. 

Moore said he especially cares about the environment and doesn’t like what’s happening with environmental regulations being abolished, which was “definitely an influential part of why I voted Biden.” 

Griswold said both Biden and Trump are old and out of touch with most of the country. He said while he’s not a big fan of either candidate, he will probably end up voting for Biden.

“Trump is definitely not what the country really needs,” Griswold said. “He’s very divisive especially with everything going on right now. Personally, I think he gets a ton of bad rap, which he might not deserve, just because people hate him as much as they do, but he definitely isn’t good for the country and says a lot of bad things and doesn’t support a lot of people.” 

Gibalerio is hoping for Biden to win because she said he is what the country needs right now in terms of managing COVID-19. She said she cares a lot about politics and it would be frowned upon by her friends if she didn’t vote. 

Griswold, too, finds his own way to encourage people to vote.

“I’m not one of those people that’s posting, ‘Vote, vote, vote’ all over my Instagram and Twitter, but I do talk to people about the importance of voting,” Griswold said.

Griswold said he identifies himself as a Republican and doesn’t agree with a lot of Biden’s policies, but believes Trump hurts the country more than he helps. 

Griswold said his registration got lost and was unable to vote in the last election when he showed up to the polls, but is excited to vote in this election.

Gibalerio said for college students, it’s hard to keep up with all the candidates and be knowledgeable about every single issue and election, but voting is still important.

Moore said there was a lot of enthusiasm around Lehigh and knows that all of his friends are voting. He said they encouraged him to register.

“I think voting is absolutely important all the way down to the local level,” Moore said. “It’s kind of like the most important thing you can do as a citizen, so to have the most representation for our country, voting will mean that the policies that the American people want are carried out.”

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