Voter voices: Here’s why these Americans are casting their ballots

Viv Bichachi, 33, and her husband Joel Bichachi, 38
Viv Bichachi, 33, and her husband Joel Bichachi, 38, voted early Tuesday morning at a quiet polling place in Miami’s Legion Park. Both voted for President Trump.
(Arit John / Los Angeles Times)

Voters across the nation head for the polls on Tuesday amid a deadly pandemic, an economic collapse and a raw debate over race and justice.

Our reporters, who are bringing dispatches from more than a dozen cities in battleground states, are asking voters what brought them out to the polls. Here are some of their responses.

Live updates |Live results | Your guide to the 2020 election | How to vote in California | Where to vote in Southern California | Editorial board endorsements | How we’re covering the election | Nine Senate races to watch | 12 California propositions on the ballot | Photos: Early voting underway for 2020 election



Fabricio Haas-Winkelman, 46, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Beverly Hills hairdresser Fabricio Haas-Winkelman came to the United States from El Salvador almost two decades ago.

On Tuesday he will cast his first ballot — for Donald Trump.

Haas-Winkelman, 46, said Trump’s immigration policy is his primary motivation.

Several of his cousins who tried to travel to the United States illegally have disappeared, he said, and four more years of a border crackdown would protect other Salvadorans from the same fate.

“I don’t see racism,” Haas-Winkelman said. “I just see my people risking their lives.”

- Emily Baumgaertner



Dr. Chris Thang, 34, Houston

Wearing scrubs as he headed to the polls after work, Dr. Chris Thang had to wade through crowds of Biden and Trump supporters to cast his vote.

“The country is pretty divided,” said the 34-year-old oral surgeon, surrounded by chanting protesters and police keeping a watchful eye on the crowd.

Thang, a Houston native, said he and his sister voted for Biden because “he just seems like a good person.” Their parents, “staunch Republicans,” voted for Trump, he said.

Thang had never voted before, but this election he was concerned for America’s future under Trump.

“It just doesn’t look like he has America’s best interests,” Thang said, adding that Trump “has emboldened people and made hate more normal.”


“If it was close and I didn’t vote, I would feel really bad about it,” he said.

- Molly Hennessey-Fiske

Tuesday marks the end of a tumultuous Trump and Biden race. It’s unclear when the results will be known.


Marbella Valencia, 24, Santa Ana, Calif.

Marbella Valencia, 24, is the only person in her family eligible to vote. Her parents are from Mexico and in the country without legal status; her younger siblings are too young.

On Tuesday, the Santa Ana resident felt the weight of her constitutional duty. “I feel pressure to vote on their behalf,” she said of her parents.


While she said her parents don’t understand much about elections in this country, she said they instilled in her the importance of participating.

They implored her to vote. “It’s a benefit that you have as a United States citizen.… You have to vote for your community,” Valencia recalled them saying. Valencia, who wore a face mask speckled with miniature Mickey Mouses when she dropped off her ballot at Santa Ana College just before lunch, said she was motivated to vote largely by President Trump’s tough stance on legal and illegal immigration.

For the last three years, her husband has been waiting to be issued a visa to join her in the U.S. Valencia blames the Trump administration for the slow pace of processing the paperwork. “I feel like there are more consequences to voting now than even last year,” Valencia said.

She said she feels anxious about this election and is mentally preparing herself, should Trump win a second term.

“We know what to expect, at least,” she said. “So I’m just ready for anything at this point.”


- Cindy Carcamo


Viv Bichachi, 33, Miami

Viv Bichachi, 33, and her husband, Joel Bichachi, 38, voted early Tuesday morning at a quiet polling place in Miami’s Legion Park. Both voted for President Trump.

Viv said she voted for President Obama in 2008, but she chose Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 and has backed GOP candidates ever since. As her lifestyle and career changed, so did her politics, she said.

“Probably getting a little more informed, too ... getting more involved in researching and doing things that I thought was best for myself and my community, my family,” she said.

Joel said he backed Trump over Joe Biden because the president is “about capitalism, not socialism and communism.” His parents fled Cuba, and growing up he was told the Democratic Party leans more toward those ideologies.


“You kind of see it with Biden raising the taxes as much as he’s gonna be,” he said. “So I just feel that Donald Trump is the best candidate right now.”

— Arit John


Lisa Random, Detroit

Pediatrician Lisa Random mailed in her absentee ballot several days ago, only to be informed by the city’s clerk office that she forgot to sign it. So on Tuesday, she went to the city election department’s downtown office to make sure her vote counted.

“It’s a very critical, important election in terms of electing our president, and also in the city of Detroit, all the other issues that are on the ballot,” said the 50-year-old.

Random is a registered Democrat, though she said she agrees with some of the Republican Party’s values. But she said could not vote for President Trump because of how he has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been devastating in Michigan and has killed more than 232,000 people in the U.S.


“He does not base his information on science, and as a physician, I think that’s important,” Random said. “You’re as strong as those that you surround yourself with.”

— Seema Mehta


Joshua Liegler, 42, Franklin, Wis.

Joshua Liegler
Joshua Liegler.
(James Rainey / Los Angeles Times)

Voting at City Hall in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin, Joshua Liegler spoke for Americans who felt like neither major party candidate presented a tremendous hope for the future of America.

Liegler, 42, said he had preferred candidates who were defeated in the Democratic primaries, like Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and businessman Andrew Yang. He declined to say who he settled on for president Tuesday.


“I walked in today full of disdain and not wanting to check either box,” said Liegler, a construction worker. “I think it’s an embarrassing choice to have to make, if these two are the two best people we have for the forward face of our government. I wouldn’t want either one to lead even a company that I would work for. So that makes it tough.”

Liegler said he didn’t want to reveal his pick because of all the animosity in the air over the election.

— Jim Rainey


Jay Downen, 59, Southgate, Mich.

 Jay Downen
Jay Downen.
(Kurtis Lee/Los Angeles Times)

Jay Downen docked his tugboat along the banks of the Detroit River at lunchtime to cast his ballot.


“I always vote on my break on election day,” said Downen, 59, who has operated vessels in the Great Lakes region for nearly three decades. “It’s my routine.”

He voted for President Trump on Tuesday, hoping for a second term for the man he also supported in 2016. “The economy has been great. He’s not beholden to anyone,” Downen said of Trump. “We don’t need to go back to having typical politicians in the White House.”

Downen said he believes the current administration will eventually get the COVID-19 pandemic under control.

“This takes time,” he said. “The president is doing his best.”

Downen ran down a list of reasons he’s backing Trump.

“The 2nd Amendment, toughness, pride for the USA,” he said. Then he looked at his phone and had to hurry back to his boat.


“We need four more years,” he said. “We just do.”

— Kurtis Lee

While the long wait for election results is unfamiliar in other parts of the country, it’s common practice in the Golden State.


Ray Anglin, 33, Detroit

Ray Anglin, 33, was inspired to vote for the first time ever on Tuesday by his frustration with President Trump’s four years in the White House.

“We want somebody in there better, that’s gonna provide for all the people,” said the construction worker, who believes Trump has enriched himself with taxpayer money while not looking out for everyday Americans.

“Cause what he’s doing, it ain’t right, so we need to get him up out of there ‘cause he served no purpose. All he’s doing is making more problems for everybody in the world. He’s not a good president to me.”


Anglin said he is voting for Democrat Joe Biden because he believes he is a decent man.

“He’s a good person, he’s for the people and he wants to see black or white, or whatever race to do better and get better jobs and just make the country better,” he said. “Look how he did with Obama, look at the stuff they did together to help, to pay for the first home buyers, the healthcare.”

— Seema Mehta


Evan Lewis, 29, Atlanta

Evan Lewis didn’t vote in 2016 because he didn’t think it would make a difference.

But after four years under President Trump, Lewis felt it was his duty to go to a polling station and cast his ballot.


“I felt I needed to be part of the count, because you never know,” he said.

The 29-year-old server and musician, who moved to Atlanta last year from Los Angeles, said he was tired of Trump calling the media “fake news,” disgusted by his efforts to build a wall along the southern U.S. border and sick of the president’s claims to have helped Black Americans.

“Overall, his spirit to me is very dividing,” he said of Trump.

Worried he would have to wait for hours in a long line, Lewis got up early to walk to West Hunter Street Baptist Church in Atlanta’s West End. But he was able to walk straight into the polling station.

He said he would have preferred Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as the Democratic presidential pick, but he cast his ballot for Biden.


“I feel good,” he said. “I did what I could do.”

— Jenny Jarvie


Anthony Thomas, 51, Philadelphia

Anthony Thomas
(Michael Finnegan / Los Angeles Times)

Anthony Thomas said he is not into politics, but “there’s something about this particular year” that prompted the home health aide to vote for Joe Biden at a church in Philadelphia’s Germantown.

“We’re in the midst of a pandemic, and Trump is not taking it seriously,” Thomas, 51, said of the Republican president as he waited in line with fellow voters outside Holsey Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

“We need somebody in power to take this thing seriously, because the numbers are going up,” said Thomas, who said he has lost close friends to COVID-19. “We need a leader who’s going to guide us and listen to the doctors and the scientists.”


— Michael Finnegan


Mike Foley, 52, Philadelphia

Philadelphia firefighter Mike Foley is a longtime Democrat, but voted Tuesday to give President Trump a second term “to continue the hard work he’s been doing.”

“The way he speaks sometimes isn’t quite like I would like him to speak, but it’s just the way he is,” Foley said before casting his ballot at Somerton United Methodist Church in Northeast Philadelphia. “He’s a brash New Yorker, and I accept that.”

Foley, 52, likes Trump’s outsider perspective on government, and he approves of the way he has handled the coronavirus pandemic. “It wasn’t like we were the only ones who had this problem,” he said.

Foley has been horrified by the civil unrest that has occurred in response to police shootings of Black people. But he does not believe Trump’s warnings that rioting and looting would spiral out of control and destroy America’s cities if Joe Biden wins the election.


“I don’t believe anybody could put a stop to this,” he said.

— Michael Finnegan

As the coronavirus death toll grew so did anxieties about who would win the presidential election.


Marvin Rushing, 79, Franklin, Wis.

Conventional wisdom would have it that the only highly unlikely outcome this presidential season is an overwhelming win for President Trump.

Don’t tell that to Marvin Rushing, a Wisconsin businessman who voted for the president Tuesday morning and can’t understand why the majority of Americans wouldn’t do the same.

“I think it’s going to be a landslide for Trump,” said Rushing, 79, voting at City Hall. “It’s the first time in 80 years a president has actually kept his promises. On everything. I mean, it’s unbelievable. ... Especially building the wall. I was amazed that he got that done.”


President Trump has not completed a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, much less fulfilled his promise to make the Mexican government pay for the barrier.

But Rushing, the retired owner of a chain of beauty stores and colleges, said America has won with Trump, a businessman who takes action and doesn’t just talk about what he will do.

— James Rainey


Brittany Smith, 30, Atlanta

Brittany Smith, a 30-year-old massage therapist, was relieved to see no line when she walked up to Pittman Park Recreation Center in the Atlanta neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

The polling station, which serves a predominantly Black community, made national news in 2018, staying open hours after the official closing time because of a shortage of voting machines.


But early Tuesday morning, there were more poll watchers, reporters and volunteers outside than voters.

Smith walked straight into the polling station and voted for Biden because she was concerned about racial injustice and wanted to improve the morale of the country. But she also admitted she was motivated by societal pressure and guilt.

Every day, she said, her girlfriends asked her if she had voted.

— Jenny Jarvie


Melissa Davis, 41, Philadelphia

Melissa Davis
(Michael Finnegan / Los Angeles Times)


Home health aide Melissa Davis lined up behind a few dozen people at a Philadelphia church on Tuesday to vote for Joe Biden, because she’s sick of President Trump.

“Since President Trump has been in, we’ve experienced depression, pandemic and racism, and I for one, I’m sick of it,” the 41-year-old Democrat said before casting her ballot at Holsey Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia’s Germantown area.

She sees Biden as “the lesser of two evils,” but likes that he doesn’t give off the kind of “sneakiness” that many politicians do.

“He says what’s on his mind,” she said. “No filter. I can appreciate that.”

— Michael Finnegan



Joanne Ross, 61, Nevada

Joanne Ross
(Brittny Mejia/Los Angeles Times)

HENDERSON, Nev. — At 9:20 a.m. there were around 100 people waiting in line outside of the Sun City MacDonald Ranch Community Center.

That included Joanne Ross, who was decked out in a red “Nevada for Trump” hat and a flag scarf and mask. The retiree wore a red shirt and red, white and blue Skechers.

The 61-year-old had come with her husband, her daughter and her daughter’s fiance; she said they were casting ballots in person so they could be sure their votes would be counted.

“My husband and I are devout Christians,” she said Ross, who lives in Las Vegas, but was voting in Henderson, where her daughter lives. “For us there’s no choice. We can’t vote for somebody who supports late term abortion.”


“I’m afraid what’s going to happen if Joe Biden wins,” she said of the former Vice President, a practicing Catholic.

President Trump is the only president who “shows any type of faith and seems sincere about it,” Ross said, adding that he sticks to his promises.

“He’s been doing what he said he was going to do,” she said. “That’s why we elected him.”

But her voice broke and she grew teary eyed as she talked about what her support of Trump had cost her: friends she’s had for more than 20 years.

“They all of a sudden look at you differently because of the way that you vote and the things that you support, which isn’t anything they haven’t known about you for the last 20 years or more,” Ross said. “These are people you’ve cared about and loved on for years and all of a sudden because you support a person who believes the things that you believe .... now you’re just not good enough anymore? It’s heartbreaking.”


“It’s devastating really. It changes the whole dynamics of your life,” she said.

The family was told at least five times that they would need to remove their Trump gear before entering the center. They all wore hats that showed their support for Trump.“We’re not campaigning, we’re standing in line waiting to vote,” Ross said.

“The hats, that’s campaigning,” an election worker told her.

Eventually, after another worker came by and warned them, everyone except for Ross took off their hats.“They can’t send me away, that’s voter suppression,” Ross told her family.

“I’d rather vote than wear a hat,” her future son in law said. Eventually another poll worker came by and told her it’d be fine for her to wear the hat until she entered the building.


Amanda Steelsmith, 29, Idaho

Amanda Steelsmith
Amanda Steelsmith.
(Maria LaGanga/Los Angeles Times)


CALDWELL, Idaho — Amanda Steelsmith was one of the lucky ones early Tuesday: She and baby Dusti got to wait indoors as dozens of voters queued up to cast ballots in this fast-growing agricultural region west of Boise.

Outside the polling place, the Hispanic Cultural Center, the temperature was hovering in the high 30s. Members of a “Voter Experience Team” were doling out hand warmers and granola bars to those in line there.

Steelsmith, 29, came with her 15-month-old baby not because her vote might make a difference – Idaho was a sure bet to support President Trump’s reelection – but because “every election is important.”

“It’s a controversial election and a lot of people feel it’s do or die time,” she said. As for her vote? “I tend to vote more Republican and conservative -- Trump is my big ticket.”

— Maria L. La Ganga



Darryl Shephard, 51, Orlando, Fla.

With more than 9 million votes already cast before election day in Florida, the crowds were thinner at Shiloh Baptist Church in Parramore, a historic Black neighborhood west of downtown Orlando.

Still, 14 people lined up before polls opened at 7 a.m. to submit their ballots, and many of them said they came out in person on Tuesday because they were worried their votes would not be counted otherwise. One was Darryl Shephard, 51, who woke up early to walk over from his nearby home to vote for Joe Biden.

“I just don’t trust mail-in voting because I’ve seen all the news on the post office delays,” said Shephard. “I would usually take the day off but today it should not be that bad because of the people who have already voted, so I can go to work later this morning.”

Shephard said his vote for Biden was “less of a vote against Trump” and “more a vote for “the legacy of President Barack Obama.”

“Biden worked close with Obama. Even if he didn’t have the same ideas always as Obama, they worked together and I want to support that,” he said.


“Look, Trump is a horrible person,” said Shephard, who works in a warehouse that ships products for companies including Walmart, Costco and Walgreens. “But there’s always some good in what any person does. Look at the stock market, it did go up under him. But a lot of people have also suffered,” he said, pointing to what he called Trump’s “mishandling” of the COVID-19 pandemic.

— Jaweed Kaleem


Chris Salvatore, 51, Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - Chris Salvatore of Northeast Philadelphia gave a simple reason for voting Tuesday to reelect President Trump: “He backs the police.”

Many neighbors of the 51-year-old state government employee are police officers and firefighters. She was unnerved by the vandalism and violence that erupted in other parts of Philadelphia last week after city police shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man.

“Who knew if they were going to our area and demolish everything around here,” said Salvatore, a Republican who voted at Somerton United Methodist Church. If Democrat Joe Biden defeatsTrump, she said, “it would just be worse.”


Salvatore did have one complaint about Trump: “The tweets are a bit much.”

— Michael Finnegan


Marlena Stablein, 26, Miami

Marlena Stablein, a 26-year-old who works at a tech company, said she voted for Joe Biden “because our country is not a happy place right now.”

“I try to vote not necessarily by party, but by belief system or what I would like our country to represent, but in this case obviously it’s not going to be Republican,” she said.

Stablein said the economy played a role in her vote, and that while the economy is arguably doing well now, she doesn’t think Trump’s push for deregulation is sustainable.


“Personally, I don’t think deregulation and capitalism are the end-all, be-all,” she said.

Stablein said she had some concerns heading into election day. She decided to vote at Legion Park because she knew it wouldn’t be too crowded, and she voted in person because she was worried her ballot had arrived too late for her to return it on time. Ideally, she didn’t even want to be in the country on Nov. 4 — she’d planned a two-month vacation to Europe that was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“I‘m definitely nervous, I was trying to leave,” she said.

— Arit John


Michael Springfield, 29, Phoenix

Michael Springfield
(Tyrone Beason / Los Angeles Times)

Fresh from casting ballots Tuesday in the capital of battleground Arizona, two residents illustrated Joe Biden’s strength among younger voters — even if some aren’t particularly enthused about the septuagenarian Democrat.


Michael Springfield, a 29-year-old paralegal and progressive Democrat, voted early on election day with his mother and grandmother in Central Phoenix. No fan of President Trump, he chose Biden, but without much excitement.

Still, Springfield said he believes Biden has the right character to lead a politically divided country.

“Although I wasn’t really enthused about him, I feel that the last four years have not been good,” he said. “Biden’s the candidate to restore decency to the White House,” the one who will “get us back to some kind of normalcy.”

Tiara Stevenson, a 31-year-old therapist, voted for Biden because she said she believes Republicans are more interested in helping the rich than everyday Americans. She rejected Trump’s portrayal of Biden as a socialist; to her, Biden “just wants equal opportunity for everyone.”

Living in central Phoenix, not far from the state capital’s government buildings, she’s used to seeing protests.

But Stevenson, a Black woman, is worried that racial and political tensions could boil over because of the election: “People are afraid there’s going to be a race war — we should be prepared for that.”


“Everybody has the right to support whoever they want,” she went on. “But I hope that people can listen to each other.”

— Tyrone Beason


Achilles Hayah, 46, Mesa, Arizona

Achilles Hayag
Achilles Hayag.
(Tyrone Beason/Los Angeles Times)

MESA, Ariz. — Achilles Hayag is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the Philippines and grew up in L.A. Yet even with President Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants and people of color, he supports the president.

Hayag, 46, lost both of his parents three days apart to COVID-19 in July as the president pushed to reopen the economy amid the pandemic.


“It’s personal to me but I’m not going to hold Trump responsible because my parents died,” Hayag said after casting his vote for the president at the Mesa, Az., convention center. “Nobody’s perfect.”

Like many of Trump’s supporters, Hayag is willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on his controversial words and actions.

“Nobody’s perfect,” Hayag said, adding that he also supports Trump’s handling of the U.S. economy.

But in the end, the longtime Republican said, “it doesn’t matter who’s in the White House as long as they take care of the people.”

— Tyrone Beason



Genie Aguilar, 24, Houston, Texas

Genie Aguilar
Genie Aguilar.
(Molly Hennessy-Fiske/Los Angeles Times)

HOUSTON - In Houston, masseuse Genie Aguilar said she voted for Biden because he’s, “the lesser evil.”

Aguilar, 24, said she felt strongly about voting because she feared for immigrant friends in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

She was optimistic that with so many young and Latino voters turning out, Biden could become the first Democrat to win Texas since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

“This has been a very conservative state. The new generation are coming out and we want to see change,” she said.


— Molly Hennessy-Fiske


Randall Norvell, 58, Las Vegas

Randall Norvell
Randall Norvell.
(Melissa Gomez / Los Angeles Times)

Randall Norvell, 58, was the 11th person in line to vote outside the William K. Moore Elementary School on Tuesday morning. What he’d heard about ballots being dumped drove him to vote in person.

“It just feels more like it’ll get counted,” said Norvell, who planned to head to his plumbing job afterward.

Norvell has been a registered Republican since he signed up for the draft. He’s voting for Trump, “and I’m proud.”


The main issues he’s concerned about are the economy getting stronger and people getting back to work and off unemployment.

The plumbing business he works for had also taken a hit during the pandemic, with some workers taking furloughs to save other people’s jobs. His boss normally buys hundreds of bikes for children at Christmas, but Norvell doesn’t know if that’ll happen this year.

The Colorado transplant thinks the election will be close once again in Nevada. He felt relieved he’d arrived before the line “went way back to the street.”

“I hope it turns out that way,” he added. “I hope everybody votes.”

By 7 a.m., the line was at least 30 people long.

— Brittny Mejia



Betty Jimenez, 62, Los Angeles

As she cast her vote Tuesday, Betty Jimenez thought of migrant children still separated from their parents.

The 62-year-old Democrat, who emigrated from El Salvador more than three decades ago, said she could imagine their young voices asking the
same question day after day: “Where is my mother?”

Another phrase — this one from Donald Trump speaking about the pandemic in late January — echoed through her thoughts as well: “We have it totally under control.”

“People are dying!” she said in Spanish. “Where is the control?”

Jimenez, who retired recently after working for years in several L.A. restaurants and factories, has been holed up indoors through the pandemic. She misses her relatives in Las Vegas but hasn’t seen them since February. It’s too risky, she says, given her age.

When Jimenez arrived at the polling station at Shatto Recreation Center in Koreatown on Tuesday morning, there was no line, so she had walked directly inside. Outside, signs warned voters to stay six feet from one another.

A high school history teacher was conducting a “virtual field trip” for his students, broadcasting live and asking students if they had any questions for voters.“We need a new president,” Jimenez said, smiling after she voted for Joe Biden.


“Someone who knows the pandemic is real.”She finds Trump deeply hypocritical. He insults Latinos, she said, while relying on them as employees at his hotels.

“We lift this country up,” she said, “and he wants to destroy it.”

She can’t stand how the president has conducted his campaign, she said, adding that she was frustrated by his comments at a recent rally implying he may try to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

“His campaign has been a circus,” she said.

As a transgender woman, Jimenez said, she feels deeply grateful for her life in the U.S., where she said she has always felt a lot of support. It’s painful, she added, to watch Trump sow division.

“Never in my life have I seen a president like him.”

— Marisa Gerber


In this historic year of plague, fire and unrest in California, the notion that the United States electoral process could devolve into disarray and violence has cranked up the anxiety even more.


Lensa Jeudy, 30, Tallahassee, Fla.

Lensa Jeudy started off her morning with a vote for Joe Biden at the Truth Gatherers Dream Center, a small community church in Tallahassee, Fla.

The center was quiet Tuesday morning as a slow but steady stream of voters arrived. Out by the entrance, voters were greeted by Biden supporters waving signs. Across the street, a Trump flag hung limp on a fence.

The 30-year-old Florida State University graduate student said she is used to long lines on election day in South Florida, so she came by early to start off her morning. As a child, she said, her father used to take her and her sister along when he voted.

Jeudy, a Democrat, said she voted for Biden because she wanted change. She said the past four years have been politically divisive and she is hopeful Biden can restore respect for opposing views.


“I’m ready to be inspired again,” she said. “I’m ready to feel proud and wanting to watch my president speak.”

She said she is anxious about the results, mostly because she is unsure how people will react to the results because of how partisan politics have become. The president’s four years in office have led to more outward racism, she said, something she did not experience before.

“I’m more nervous about how people will react to that more than anything,” she said. “They’re very unpredictable and I think that’s scary.”

— Melissa Gomez


John DeVille, 52, Phoenix

Trump voter John DeVille said he had no doubt that the president would once again win the battleground state of Arizona — and easily win reelection.


“It’s a done deal,” said DeVille, 52, who was among the first in line at the Burton Barr Library voting site near his home in central Phoenix.

“I’m kind of tired of the phrase ‘silent majority’ but I feel like there are a lot of supporters out there who aren’t very vocal, for fear of retribution.”

DeVille wasn’t shy about his reasons for voting for Trump.

The father of three believes the president is a positive role model for children, that he’s a man of peace and that the billionaire knows how to connect with the working class.

“He’s just like one of us,” said the father of three, who works for an independent building material wholesaler.

DeVille kept the face mask he was required to wear inside the polling station around his neck as he spoke in the parking lot outside the library.


He called COVID-19, which has killed more than 230,000 Americans and sickened members of his own family, a “fake pandemic” that’s “nothing more than the flu.”

DeVille didn’t fault Trump for his handling of the pandemic. He instead he blamed Democrats and the news media for trying to “shut down” the president.

“I don’t believe in masks,” he said.

Some of what DeVille said was rooted in an unfounded, QAnon-style conspiracy theory about evil forces on the political left abducting children. He believes Trump can help expose it.

“Trump’s doing a movement, not a campaign,” he said. “He’s not about going out there and telling people what they want to hear.”

“People need to be informed,” DeVille said, “and learn their own truth.”


— Tyrone Beason


Cynthia, 60, Tallahassee, Fla.

Cynthia, a 60-year-old Tallahassee resident, was in and out of the polling site quickly Tuesday morning at the Truth Gatherers Dream Center.

The local business owner, who declined to give her last name, said she voted for President Trump because she felt Democrats have failed to deliver for the American people, including Black voters like herself.

“The Democrats, they can make you feel depressed, and I don’t want to be a part of depression. They’re the reason the country is depressed,” she said. “They want to put it on white supremacists and white people, but if you do the history of it, they have depressed the Black people more than any independent person, Republican.”

She said she does not like everything the president says, but that he upheld promises he made four years ago.


She said she was not nervous about any post-election tension or violence. “Thank God we got a president who’s not gonna tolerate that,” she said.

— Melissa Gomez