High hopes and a nervous wait: young voters in key states tell us about their fears for the future

  • Young people voted in record numbers in battleground states
  • Younger people have tended to support Joe Biden
  • The two presidential candidates are both in their 70s

The US election is on a knife edge with the result coming down to a few key states – Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan.

Abigail Amos, 21 from Arizona said: “There is a lot of tension right now. I think this whole election and everything leading up to this moment has been embarrassing for us as a country. 

“We just want a better America, especially with everything that has happened. We need tonight’s votes to pull through because a lot is depending on this election.” 

Kennedy Rasberry from Columbus, Ohio said: “The election is nerve racking! And it could honestly go either way.”

close-up of Kennedy Rasberry in Columbus, Ohio
Kennedy Rasberry from Columbus, Ohio

Fearful for the outcome Kennedy said: “There’s concerns for both candidates, the idea of four more years with Trump terrifies me.

“If Joe Biden wins, I fear violence.”

Kennedy has concerns about both candidates’ attitudes towards Black voters: “With Joe Biden, he has a history of incarcerating Black people, and in the debates, he wouldn’t support Black Lives Matter. 

“I don’t think Black Lives Matter is a political movement. It’s about Black lives.”

Describing the atmosphere around her area, Kennedy said: “I really don’t feel comfortable to go downtown and that says a lot, it’s not an ideal situation to be in, the tensions are so high.”

The one thing that gives Abigail cause for optimism is the high turnout of young voters: “I’m pleased to see young people in Arizona turning up to vote. I just hope that they’ve voted for the right candidate.” 

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a huge surge in the number of Americans deciding to vote early or send a mail-in ballot. 

In Ohio, there have been 4,229 of coronavirus cases, following an average of 3,343 cases per day.

But that didn’t put off Rebekah Green from Cincinnati, Ohio from voting in person. “I wanted the experience of voting in my first presidential election, but coronavirus still remained a worry for me. While it was not ideal, I ultimately decided to go to the poll booth.”  

Rebekah Green
Rebekah Green from Cincinnati, Ohio

Rebekah said, “The most important issue in this election for me is environment. Climate change is one of, if not the most pressing issue and we need a leader who takes the future of the environment seriously.

“This includes investment in clean energy, remaining in global climate agreements and holding corporations responsible for the carbon emissions they release.”

Jessica Steele
Jessica Steele, Ohio

Above all, the students we spoke to want to see change in their country. Journalism student, Jessica Steele from Ohio said: “We need more diversity than ever. Our country can absolutely be improved.

“It’s not the best it can be by any means.”