PROJECT • “I Voted!” — reporting on an election

This page is an EXCERPT from ICMPA’s “I Voted!” PROJECT — see full website here

Portraits of those committed to the democratic process

How did the deeply divided American electorate vote?

Students at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism reported on how the electorate was voting in the days leading up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election — in a time of rising COVID cases, in those last weeks of the presidential campaign when pollsters were frantically trying to determine who would win on November 3, 2020.    

The students, all seniors and juniors, took portraits of voters who were sending in their absentee ballots or standing in lines at early polling stations or voting on election day itself. 

The voters they identified came from across the aisle and across the country, from confirmed blue and red states, as well as swing states.

The student-reporters took the voters’ photos and asked them to explain why they were voting, what they were voting for, and to reflect on how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting them.

See below for a look at the “I Voted!” project. 

See the faces of the voters and read what mattered to them. 

This page is an excerpt of the full “I Voted!” project — see the full website here.

Because of COVID-19’s need for social separation and distancing, some photos were taken via video chat apps.

Click on the photos below to see a sampling of voters in the project. 
And scroll below those to read more about what voters wanted to say.

All the voters interviewed for this Voting Project wanted their voices to be heard by those in government. 

All believed in their democratic — in their Constitutional — right to vote.

Read the quotes below to read what other voters interviewed by this project had to say. 

The voters spoke about American values, and how those shaped how they voted:

“Covid has changed my life greatly by informing me how deeply affected by rugged individualism our society is, and how difficult it is to motivate Americans to do something or behave a certain way for the greater good if they cannot see an immediate and direct benefit for their personal objectives or desires.”

– Gabi • NY • Democrat • dropped off her ballot at her local election office
interviewed • Camryn DeLuca

“I did research into my votes so I think I was a pretty informed voter this time around. This is my first presidential election, and I really wanted my voice to be heard.
…..I’ve been tired the last four years of not feeling like I had a voice in my government simply because I was seventeen the last presidential election…. I’m ready for any kind of change.”  

– Kate • MD • Democrat • first-time voter • mailed in her ballot
interviewed • Madison Burinsky

The voters spoke about the impact of COVID on their lives:

“COVID has impacted my life a lot because I was laid-off of my job because there was no work. I am an electrician, so we need constant work and we were not able to go into some buildings because of COVID.
I haven’t been able to see a lot of my friends because I live at home with my parents, so I don’t want them to get it.  I think it’s more traditional to vote in-person, that’s why I decided to.”

– Andrew • MD • Republican • voted early, in-person
interviewed • Hannah Smith

“I had COVID several weeks ago, and due to some residual lung damage from a case of pneumonia I had as a kid, my lungs are much weaker than others. I was really ill for some time and almost had to stay in the hospital. It was extremely scary….
…..When I arrived to the ballot drop off I was actually told that I couldn’t mail my ballot due to something related to my COVID diagnosis almost a month prior.

…..There was nothing dangerous about what I was doing, but I was almost prohibited from voting, which is my right. I didn’t realize how prevalent voter suppression is until it almost happened to me.”

– Sydney • MD • dropped off her ballot in her local drop-box
interviewed • Hallie Kay

The voters spoke about how their life experiences & their experience of COVID influenced who they voted for:

“I never came from money, had to work for every opportunity I ever got, and realized the importance of money and a market-based economy. That is why for the past 25 years I have voted Republican and why I still vote red to this day.
…..Being in a target demographic most effected by COVID-19, I definitely have taken the necessary precautions. I do think however, there have been viruses since the dawn of time and we can’t live in fear forever. President Trump contracting COVID and still pressing on the campaign trail is a prime example of how COVID doesn’t have to completely shut down your life.”  

– Cheryl • GA • Republican • voted early, in-person
interviewed • Halle Grossett

COVID basically put a pause on my life and most peoples’ lives here in March. I went about four months without seeing anyone outside of my family, other than going to the grocery store….
…..Voting by mail is easiest, but voting in general is so important. Here’s why: I plan on voting for Biden. It is as much as a vote for Biden as it is against Trump. I believe Joe Biden will listen to the people who he tasked with advising him.”

– Billy • MD • Democrat • first-time voter • mailed in his ballot
interviewed • Kate Savinelli

The voters spoke about why voting matters to them:

“This is my first time voting in the presidential election and I think it’s important to vote because it’s your basic civic duty as a citizen of the United States.”

– Matt • NY • first-time voter • mailed in his ballot
interviewed • Lila Bromberg

“Voting gives me the opportunity to stand up for the issues I care about. Knowing that I have a political say on the quality of life I want for myself and future generations is very important to me.”

– Zoe • TX • first-time voter • voted early, in-person
interviewed • Alexis Sugar

To visit the FULL WEBSITE and see what dozens of voters had to say, click HERE

The following students reported on this project, contributing portraits of and interviews with voters:

Lila Bromberg  •  Madison Burinsky •  Yakira Cohen •  Camryn DeLuca •  Casey Fair •  Luke Gentile •  Halle Grossett •  Annabelle Janssens •  Hallie Kay •  Daniel Longest •  Erika Muller •  Kate Savinelli •  Hannah Smith •  Alexis Sugar •  Jordan Swarm •  Morgan Weaver

The signs in the window photo was taken by Daniel Longest.  The featured ICMPA homepage image of Michael in front of the American flag was taken by Luke Gentile.
The full website can be accessed at