Democrat and Republican Early Voters Speak Out in Coral Springs

Photos by Selene Raj

By Selene Raj

As early voting in Florida and around the country boasts a record-breaking turnout, Coral Springs residents are heading to the Northwest Regional Library to make their voices heard.

Whether dropping off ballots or standing in the short, quickly moving, and socially distant lines, residents have had a relatively easy time casting their ballots.

While early voting has not been without incident between opposing parties, most voters find themselves quickly in and out.

A voter since the age of 18, Jenny Rosenberg, 47, is a first-generation citizen and a lifelong Republican who was casting her vote. Her parents, Hispanic immigrants who came to America in the 1970s, are staunch Democrats, and after a contentious few years, they don’t talk about politics anymore.

Immigration has been an especially tough issue for them during this administration, as she prioritizes both the protection of the borders and a path to citizenship.

“I have [extended] family members that don’t belong here—that don’t deserve to be here,” she said.

Earlier this year, Rosenberg, who has an underlying condition, contracted Covid-19. Hospitalized for 22 days, she had to be put on oxygen. However, she does not believe the virus is a hoax or that masks are ineffective. Still, she’s not upset with Trump for his response to the pandemic, nor his indoor rallies involving thousands of unmasked people with little social distancing — believing that contracting the virus is inevitable.

For Shad Odekeye, a 43-year-old nurse, the pandemic was at the forefront of her top issues, alongside the economy and racism, that led her to vote adamantly for Vice President Joe Biden.

“I know a lot of people that have lost love ones because of Covid-19, and I feel that Donald Trump isn’t doing anything for the economy but talking crap, period.”

Odekeye said Trump doesn’t have a Covid response, leaving nurses like herself short on PPE and supplies while spending his time going on Twitter rants like a child.

Ken Saunders, 66, was so passionate about reelecting Trump that he came out to the Northwest Regional Library to volunteer.

The pandemic was not one of his top issues, as he was largely unaffected and did not fully trust the CDC — or Dr. Fauci.

Saunders is voting for Trump because he believes he has built our military, brought jobs back from overseas, and built the wall to protect the country from foreigners—though, he doesn’t always agree with his statements.

“I like what he’s done, but I don’t like a lot of the things he says, like most people,” said Saunders.

A Coral Springs resident for more than three decades, Jackie Finney, 71, was eager to cast her ballot against the current president. She is Jewish, her husband is Black, her grandchildren are multiracial, and her daughter is gay.

She’s worried for all of them, she said, given the president’s embrace of white supremacy, antisemitism, and his gutting of LGBTQ+ rights.

She hopes that the country can remember their humanity in this election, which the government seems to have forgotten by not taking responsibility for the more than 200,000 Americans who have already died from the virus.

“There’s a stroke of humanity in [Biden],” she said.

Dr. Claudia Martinez, 36, a local veterinarian, said she was voting for Biden in the hopes of positive change — she shared that it wasn’t about party, but instead making sure the country works to help everybody. Not only does she wish the pandemic was handled better, but she also wishes that the nation was less divided.

“We need a more unified community,” she said, “Hopefully, the election will tell the world that we’re united as one, and we’ll make some big changes for the future.”

Voting in her second election, Hannah Chin, 22, said she was excited to vote not just for national items but also for local candidate Nancy Metayer.

“It’s very important to use your voice and be heard,” she said.

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