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Valley College served as a voting center in presidential election

Voters converged on campus to cast their ballots for the Nov. 3 election and vote in one of the most controversial presidential elections in recent memory.

By Cassandra Nava and Marcos Franco

Vesko (no last name provided) and son were very concerned about personal privacy issues and control of thier own data, Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo by Solomon O. Smith/The Valley Star)

On the last day of the 2020 presidential election, scores of voters trickled into Valley College’s voting center to support Joe Biden and to cast their votes for highly contested state propositions. 

Voters had the choice between incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Also listed on the ballot were 12 propositions ranging from issues such as the expansion of rent control to funding stem cell research as well as restoring affirmative action. Although California is widely regarded as a Democratic state, that was not always the case. According to the Los Angeles Times, the last Republican win was in 1988, and since then, the Democratic Party has claimed the state in every subsequent presidential election. This year proved to be no different with candidate Biden’s win in California, making it the eighth consecutive presidential election that has gone to the Democrats. 

This also rang true at Valley, which served as one of  many voting centers in the state — including all of the LACCD campuses — as most voters identified themselves as Democrats. 

“I voted for Biden because Trump is an asshole,” said 53-year-old Donny Webb, a registered independent. “I would've voted for a dog rather than Trump. This guy is dangerous. He has been divisive to our nation, and he’s done more damage than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”

Britney Ferguson, a registered Democrat and chef at Sylmar’s Guardian Angel Academy, stated that a vote for Biden was the logical choice. 

Britney Ferguson, a school chef at the Guardian Angel Academy, prepares to vote at Valley College, Nov. 3, 2020. (Photo by Solomon O. Smith/The Valley Star)

“I voted for Biden because I definitely knew who I did not want to vote for,” Ferguson said. “I trust that he will do a better job with his experience at filling this position for our country.”

The lone Trump supporter on Tuesday afternoon was Eli Ziv, who thought it was important to vote in person. 

“I voted for Trump,” Ziv said. “It was either him or Biden, and they're both bad choices. It's about the policy, not the person.” 

Voters shared that Proposition 22 was an important measure on the state’s ballot. Backed by Uber and Lyft, this expensive measure has spent over $200 million on advertising alone in the state. According to Business of Apps, 19 percent of Uber drivers are ages 18 to 29, while 7 percent of drivers are currently students. 

With more than 500 thousand rideshare drivers in California between Uber and Lyft, the tech giants have warned users of a potential withdrawal of operations in the state if Proposition 22 does not pass. 

“I felt like Proposition 22 was pretty important to me,” said Webb. “I voted so that they will be employed, so they can have benefits.”

One voter at Valley shared that Proposition 24 was important to him as a young adult who spends a lot of time online and on social media. 

“The proposition that resonated with me the most was about consumer privacy protections, so data would be protected,” said the voter, who did not disclose his name. “I have a very big online presence, and I think it’s important that companies don't get my data and sell it to other people. Data concerns are a big issue today, and they're not being respected. We need to have consumer privacy protections for things like social media or video games.”

An issue that concerned Karim and Christian McClure was Proposition 17, which would restore the right to vote for convicted felons. 

“I feel like if they did their time, and they’re back out as a citizen. They have every right to have a say in our future,” Karim McClure said.

Voters at other polling places across the valley weighed in on the propositions and measures on the ballot. At a polling center in Glendale, voter Alexander Burrell explained why the presidential election was important to him and why he voted for the former vice president. 

“I don’t like the way that Trump stirs the country up,” said Burrell. “We shouldn’t have strife between each other and that’s what’s happening right now.”