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Government & Politics
2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Early Voters in Trumbull County Share Views on the State of Things: 'At the End of the Day, We're All Americans'

photos of voters in Trumbull County
Jon Nungesser
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WKSU
Christina Roberts and Javier Vega voted early at the Trumbull County Board of Elections in Warren, Ohio. Javier says these days people see someone from the other political party as the enemy, "which that shouldn't be the case."

Today is the last day for early voting in Ohio. Over the past four weeks, hundreds of thousands of Ohioans have waited in long lines at boards of elections to cast ballots in person.

It was chilly on the morning we stopped at the Trumbull County Board of Elections in Warren to talk with voters there who shared why they decided to vote early and what some of their big concerns are this election season.

photos of voters in Trumbull County
Jon Nungesser
Breanna Williams voted early at the Trumbull County Board of Elections. She says as she went in to cast her ballot, she was "kind of torn a little bit."

Breanna Williams works for a nonprofit and says her organization has experienced funding cuts. She wants to make sure victims' voices are heard. And in this election, she's making sure her own voice is heard at the ballot box. "I think it’s just the right thing to do, to get you out, to vote," she said.

Williams is concerned about how things are going and thinks the country needs "a lot of help. I really lean more usually to conservative values," she says and then audibly sighs. "We just all need to come together and we just need something a little bit better than what’s going on.”

photos of voters in Trumbull County
Jon Nungesser
Donald and Jessica Rihel voted early at the Trumbull County Board of Elections for the convenience of it.

For Donald Rihel, who lives in Bazetta Township, "things are pretty smooth." He mentions his satisfaction with the local police. And expresses concern for future generations.

"Obviously, I’ve lived—more of my life's behind me than in front of me—these kids coming up today I’m afraid they’re not going to have the same freedoms and rights that we enjoyed,” Rihel said.

Marvin Logan, Jr. grew up in Warren and has lived there all his life. His job recently has taken him to the Detroit area, but he returned home to cast his vote. “I think that voting is one of the most essential privileges of our democracy," Logan said. "I come from ancestors who sacrificed a lot for me to be able to have the right to vote. I think a vote-less people is a hopeless people. I’ve never missed an election and I never plan to.”

photos of voters in Trumbull County
Jon Nungesser
Warren native Marvin Logan, Jr. enjoys the experience of in-person voting. He has never missed an election and says "a vote-less people is a hopeless people."

He enjoys the experience of voting in person, and this election is not only focused on the presidential race, but also local tax levies and appellate court judges as well as who will occupy two seats on the Ohio Supreme Court. "Who our prosecutors are, who our judges are when looking at situations with police brutality that’s where your vote is going to matter the most.”

Carol Morrow of Hubbard decided to vote in person because she's not certain her usual voting location will be open on Election Day. "I’m just worried that on Tuesday I don’t know how many polls are going to be open because of how many workers are going to be able to work the polls because of the pandemic.”

COVID-19 has been a key issue for many voters. The ongoing pandemic has raised questions on both sides. It has highlighted racial disparities, and has led to protests following the May police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“This is a, a very important election with everything going on, with all the social injustice going on, everything that’s going on I think it’s really important to come out and vote,” D.J. Williamson of Warren said.
“There’s a lot of things going on in the country, lot of unrest obviously," said Brent Armstrong. "I don’t know if voting one way or another is going to solve that, but the only thing I can do is make my choice going—what I think is going to be the best way to see this country move forward.”

Sydney Dicenso said she wanted to vote in person this year to be aware of herself "making sure it's getting done." As an educator, she's concerned for her students. "I want them to be able to have the type of opportunities we’ve had in the past or new opportunities people haven’t experienced.”

Lloyd Allen retired from the old G.M. plant in Lordstown 22 years ago. “I’m a conservative. I believe in Christian values and stuff, and I want to make sure my vote counts for what I believe in.”

He received an absentee ballot by mail, but he did not want to mail it back. "I wanna carry it in and put it in their hands," he said.

Javier Vega has come out to vote with Christina Roberts. He lives in Bazetta and works for UPS. “For me basically, I just don’t like what’s going on in the country, as far as all the divisiveness, all this noise that’s out there, misinformation," he said.

Vega says it used to be "you could have discussions about policy" regardless of your views. He doesn't like how things are now. "It’s either, you’re on one side or the other and if you’re on the other side, you’re a bad person and I don’t think that’s good for America because at the end of the day, we’re all Americans.”

Early voting continues until 2 o’clock Monday afternoon at county boards of elections or early vote centers around the state.

Poll locations will be open Tuesday for in-person, Election Day voting from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.