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Scenes from Election Day 2020: Minnesotans on how (and why) they voted

Voters talk about their votes.

In an election seemingly unlike any other, Minnesota voters went to the polls Tuesday, wrapping up an election in which more than 1.8 million state residents have already cast early ballots. MinnPost talked to election-day voters to learn more about their choice for president, and why they decided to vote in person. This post will be updated throughout the day with voices from around the state.

Katherine Buhrke
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Katherine Buhrke
Name: Katherine Buhrke
Polling Place: East Ridge High School, Woodbury

Who did you vote for?
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

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Why?
Because I believe that our country needs to go in a different direction. We need better handling of the coronavirus and a leader that will unite all Americans.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
Definitely the handling of the coronavirus.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
Hillary Clinton

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
Mostly because I just had the time set aside. I thought about voting early, but just decided to come out and bring my son also.

Kendal O’Keefe
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Kendal O’Keefe
Name: Kendal O’Keefe
Polling Place: East Ridge High School, Woodbury

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Who did you vote for?
I wrote in Melinda Gates because I didn’t like either choice.

Why?
I don’t like Trump because he divides people even though historically I have identified as a Republican. And I don’t like Biden because I disagree with some of his policies and it felt like I had two bad choices and so I didn’t want to pick either one of them.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
Honestly I came for the judicial elections, I am an attorney so those matter a lot to me.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
I voted for (Gary) Johnson.

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Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
I live so close it was just quick and easy for me to pop over here.

Jon O’Brien and Alison O’Brien
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Jon O’Brien and Alison O’Brien
Name: Jon O’Brien and Alison O’Brien
Polling Place: East Ridge High School, Woodbury

Who did you vote for?
Alison: Trump

Jon: Trump

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Why?
Alison: Well I’m closer to retirement age and I’m just really concerned about securing my funds and everything. I am really just concerned about the state of the economy and where everything is. That’s why I switched. I used to be a full time Democrat. I grew up Wisconsin which is very conservative and as I’m getting older, I’m getting more independent. This is really the first time I voted Republican.

Jon: My main thing was the economy as well, just think this is important with the pandemic that we’re dealing with but at the same time this is our future, everything we need to figure out how we can keep the kids in school, we need to make sure they can learn and don’t get set back, we need to make sure that places are open so they can actually earn a living, so they can have money for food. If you’re looking at the economy, the right person is Trump. There are certainly things I don’t like about Trump as well, but I think that those are the key things for us is really how that’s going to shake out.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
Alison: Probably Clinton

Jon: I voted for Trump in 2016 just because I didn’t like the other alternative.

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
Alison: I was really running out of time, I really wanted to do early voting, just between work and not feeling well and that kind of thing …  so it was nice that both of us could go together so that was kind of nice because usually we had opposite schedules.

Jon: I liked it, and to me every time it’s just getting out on the day there’s a lot less work you have to go through … I just kind of like to go there, I like the experience of being here and maybe there’s a little bit of stuff that says I don’t want to be crippled by the COVID  stuff  I want to be able to go out on my own when I want to go out, this is America after all. As long as we take care of ourselves and stuff like that.

Roxanne Potter
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Roxanne Potter
Name: Roxanne Potter
Polling Place: East Ridge High School, Woodbury

Who did you vote for?
I voted for Trump.

Why?
Well a lot of reasons, policy number one, not personality. Pro-life. Anyone that Hollywood votes for I run the other way. So throwing out all the policies if I voted for anyone who Hollywood didn’t vote for that’s who I vote for. Also, the party of optimism, positive instead of doom and gloom. Also one of the big reasons was concern about the shutdown.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
We cannot afford another shutdown, I’m a small business owner. We hung on by the skin of our teeth, if we go through another shutdown we’ll end up closing.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
I did and I voted for Trump then at the same time. Because again my business (interior design, retail) which is 20 years old we had the worst eight years during the Obama presidency in terms of sales. So again we struggled through the recession, came back, voted for the positive message and someone that’s not been in Washington for so many years.

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
Probably tradition, and trusting machines versus trusting mail-in. 

Ryley Hoff
MinnPost photo by Solomon Gustavo
Ryley Hoff
Voter: Ryley Hoff
Polling place: Whittier Recreation Center, Minneapolis

Who did you vote for?
I hope Biden is president. 

Why?
Because Donald Trump scares the shit out of me. And I wish I could be more eloquent. But on the spot, I want to vote for people who are disenfranchised: My Ls my Gs my Bs my Ts my Qs. All of my color and queer people. I just want to make sure we’re all safe. 

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
I think it’s dangerous to be a one-issue voter. It all scares me. I think there’s a lot that could happen if we continue on this path. 

Why did you choose to vote on Election Day as opposed to using early vote options?
Honestly, because I procrastinated. 

Did you vote in 2016?
I did, it was my first time. And it was super traumatizing. 

El Seabern
MinnPost photo by Solomon Gustavo
El Seabern
Voter: El Seabern
Polling place: Whittier Recreation Center, Minneapolis

Who did you vote for?
Biden

Why?
Well, I hate Donald Trump. I want you to record that. 

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
The way he treats women and the accusations in that part. So I’d like him to not be president anymore. 

Why did you choose to vote on Election Day as opposed to using early vote options?
I moved here from California, so we couldn’t do the mail-in.

 

Reagan Chambers
MinnPost photo by Solomon Gustavo
Reagan Chambers
Voter: Reagan Chambers, Minneapolis
Polling place: Whittier Recreation Center

Who did you vote for?
Biden

Why?
Where we are right not in this country right now is crazy. We definitely need a change. And I love Harris. 

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
I don’t know if I have a top. Just everything that’s happened this year is crazy. The way he’s handled fires, police brutality. Everything. 

Why did you choose to vote on Election Day as opposed to using early vote options?
I moved from California and couldn’t do mail-in 

Any concerns about voting today?
We’re excited to vote. It felt really clean in there. 

Dale Caswell
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Dale Caswell

Name: Dale Caswell
Polling Place: Fire Station No. 2, Red Wing

Who did you vote for?
Well, I am going to vote probably straight Democratic.

Why?
The environment is probably my whole reason why I vote that way because I feel with the Democratic party there’s more hope to move on with this whole New Green Deal. Maybe some of the older guys in the Democratic party aren’t all quite on board with that. But I think if you look at China even and the European Union we’re lagging behind and I think that will be huge to our economy, more so than the traditional economies we have right now with fossil fuels.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
I think health care is huge, that’s a real close second. I think it’s totally mismanaged, I don’t think anything is getting done and what I do see is Democrats at least giving it a shot.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
I voted for Hillary Clinton.

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
Because I’m old school. That’s the best I can answer. It’s not that I don’t trust or anything like that, it’s just the way I’ve done it since Jimmy Carter, for God sakes.

Lynn Vaillant
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Lynn Vaillant

Name: Lynn Vaillant
Polling Place: Fire Station No. 2, Red Wing

Who did you vote for?
Trump

Why?
Because I like everything he’s done the last four years.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
The economy. I think everybody is better off than they were before. He’s a businessman so he knows about business. We needed somebody like that in the White House for a change, I don’t think we’ve ever had that before.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
Trump.

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
We only voted absentee one time when we were in Europe … Election day is election day — that’s when you go to vote. I think a lot of these problems that they’re talking about now and worried about are because they’ve opened up all this early voting and all the mail-in voting. I don’t have a problem with the absentee ballots, that’s fine but all this other stuff I think is just causing all of these problems.

What do you mean when you say problems?
All of the complaints about not being counted and voter suppression, all of those things that are in the news right now.

Nicole Quiggle
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Nicole Quiggle

Name: Nicole Quiggle
Polling Place: Fire Station No. 2, Red Wing

Who did you vote for?
Trump.

Why?
I believe he is making America better, he believes in God and he does everything that I want him to do.

 Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
Definitely, the pro-life one is a big one. And I don’t agree with anything about the green crap that Biden has. I love [Trump’s] stance about making jobs.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
Trump.

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
Because we’re a free country, we’re Americans and we deserve to vote on voting day.

Catherine Nemcek
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Catherine Nemcek

Name: Catherine Nemcek
Polling Place: Fire Station No. 2, Red Wing

Who did you vote for?
Biden

Why?
I’m sick of Trump.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
Coronavirus and just everything he talks about. Same issues everyone else wants. … [Biden] wants to tax the rich.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
Hillary.

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
Well, I voted by mail for the primaries, but I thought I’d just like to come out and vote by person.

Rory Hernandez
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Rory Hernandez

Name: Rory Hernandez
Polling Place: Fire Station No. 2, Red Wing

Who did you vote for?
Trump

Why?
I feel he’s led this country in the right direction, I feel that he needs four more years to complete what he said he was going to do.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
I don’t think Joe Biden is qualified to run this country because he was Vice President under Obama and we got stuck with Obama for eight years and I don’t want to see that happening again.

Is there anything, in particular, Obama did that you disagreed with?
The health care issue. The unemployment was really high, and when Trump got into office, things were good. He put more taxes on my check, I didn’t have any problem finding a job or anything.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
I actually voted for Hillary.

Why did you switch your vote?
I like the way Trump has gone, he’s keeping jobs in America … he’s a businessman, he’s running this place like a business, as he should be.

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
I just haven’t gotten around to registering and all that, and I said, well, I’ll just do it the hard way.

Hafsa Mohamed
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Hafsa Mohamed

Name: Hafsa Mohamed
Polling Place: Mayo High School, Rochester

Who did you vote for?
I voted for Biden.

Why?
Because I think he’s going to be a good president.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
Racial inequality, and every vote counts.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
Didn’t vote — was too young

Why did you choose to vote on election day as opposed to using early vote options?
I just didn’t have time to do it earlier.

Sarah Stegmann
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Sarah Stegmann

Name: Sarah Stegmann
Polling Place: Rochester Mayo High School

Who did you vote for?
I voted for Trump

Why?
Because I feel like Biden’s policies aren’t good, I feel like he’s a little incompetent maybe; he doesn’t really know where he is.

Was there one particular issue that led you to your decision?
The Green New Deal. It’s supposed to make everything more efficient, but it doesn’t really seem like it’s that great. (Stegmann also said she felt like technology for electric car batteries wasn’t developed enough yet.)

Ali Damey
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Ali Damey

Name: Ali Damey
Polling Place: Mayo High School, Rochester

Who did you vote for?
Joe Biden

Why?
I’m a Democrat. I don’t like this president right now. Donald Trump, I don’t like him.

What motivated you to come to the polls today?
I have been a citizen more than 15 years and I work for Seneca Foods at the night shift and I woke up right now to vote for Joe Biden.

If you voted in 2016, who did you vote for?
Clinton