Despite Derailed Voting Plans, Voters Persevere

Izzy Burns, Staff Writer

“One week before one of the most important elections of our lives, and my entire house was forced to quarantine for the next 14 days.”

With voter registration at an all-time high, citizens were making plans to cast their vote for the presidential election for months. One upstate New York family, residing in Albany, NY, planned to take on the long early voting lines and vote in-person on October 24. They were not expecting to wake up on the 23rd to discover that two of the three of them had COVID-19, denying them the possibility of voting in person at all.

Maddy Frutchey, a first-time voter, and her parents Michelle and Eric Frutchey had to throw out their original plan and apply for absentee ballots. Luckily, the New York State application date for absentee ballots was October 27, so they were able to apply, receive their ballots, and send them back to the Board of Elections with enough time to be counted.

“It was very nerve-racking to have to switch up our plans so quickly on something so important,” Michelle Frutchey told me. “My husband and I were lucky our daughter handled everything as far as applying goes and the rest went smoothly.”

Cathy and Tom Iachetta, a husband and wife living in upstate New York, applied for absentee ballots and never received them. “We applied online about two weeks before Election Day and never heard anything back or got any papers in the mail,” said Tom Iachetta. “My wife and I didn’t know what to think so to be safe we decided to just vote in-person.”

“We went to our local board of elections right when it opened around six a.m. Apparently everyone else had the same idea because the line nearly wrapped around the building,” Cathy Iachetta added.

Many citizens see absentee ballots as unreliable and therefore only ever vote in-person. “I’ve seen so many posts on social media, which I know many people will say is an unreliable source, but it scares me to think that these people could mess up one simple thing on the ballot, or it could get lost in the mail and my vote would never be counted,” registered voter Lauren Robbins said.

There are even a large number of college students making the trip home from their schools out of state to make their vote. Ashley Lavigne, a student at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA drove three and a half hours home on October 25 just to cast her vote for the presidential election.

“I could name so many people who are doing the same thing,” said Lavigne. “I think this election is one of the most important in history and nobody is willing to miss their chance to have a part in that.”

Megan Douglas, another college student traveling home for the election from Boston agreed with Ashley Lavigne’s statement. “I am not going to sit back and watch what happens to our country when it is in my control to have a say and make an impact,” she said.

To sum up the commitment people have to contributing to this election, the Frutchey family shared this final thought: “If a pandemic cannot stop people from going out and casting their vote, I cannot think of any other excuse to not take advantage of this civil duty, especially at a time when our country needs it the most.”