Updated: Jan 27, 2021
by Members of the Press Club on November 20, 2020
The 2020 elections have not only consisted of presidential elections but also in Oakland we had our local elections. In this election article, we will talk about swing states, election poll worker experiences, local elections, and Gen Z voter impact.
//SWING STATES BY STEPHANY CASILLAS//
The 2020 presidential election had a lot of historical moments such as many swing states turning blue. Swing states are states that have split support for the democratic party and republican party. The swing states are crucial in determining which presidential candidate will win. For this year’s presidential election the swing states Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were flipped to blue. It was a close call in determining the winner for Pennsylvania. Biden won Pennsylvania by 2.2%, which mail-in ballots had a lot of impact on the final result. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.1969 was the last time Arizona was a blue state but that changed this year when Biden won the state over. Swing states are really the turning point in who wins the election which is why it’s important everyone’s vote is counted.
//ELECTIONS FROM MY POINT OF VIEW BY FARAH AL-GUBARI//
For the presidential elections, I was a clerk poll worker. As a clerk, I was in charge of putting up the touch screens and taking them down at the end of each day after assisting voters who used them. As a poll worker, I was responsible for helping set up and closing, helping voters understand the process and their rights, and protecting the equipment and the ballots from any damage. Starting my day setting up was always my favorite part of the day because we were all excited for what was to come. All the poll workers were really nice people and that made it really easy and fun to talk to them while we were getting everything prepared. Due to covid-19, I was responsible for making sure that voters wore masks and gloves and if they weren’t wearing any I had to make sure that I provided them with some.
One of my roles was reading propositions for voters if they needed assistance. There weren’t many voters who needed this type of assistance but I was always happy to help because they seemed overwhelmed with the environment and their need for extra assistance. However, I was not allowed to do it alone or explain what the propositions were actually saying. Due to people not understanding what the propositions suggested, many people voted against what they believe in. For instance, the wording for proposition 22 (Exempts App‑Based Transportation and Delivery Companies from Providing Employee Benefits to Certain Drivers.) made it seem like drivers would get more benefits than lose them. Many people thought that companies would help their drivers by increasing payments and health insurance benefits.
I was also in charge of making sure that no one walked in with a political statement such as BLM, MAGA, Biden 2020, Trump 2020, etc. However, BLM is not a political statement, the BLM movement to fight against police brutality and the racism Black people face daily in America. The volunteers made sure that during the day voters felt safe and never judged. Every time a voter placed their ballot in the ballot trolley, everyone in the room cheered them on as they were leaving. At the end of the day, even though I was exhausted, I felt accomplished and happy to have helped all these people vote.
//LOCAL ELECTIONS BY ALEXIS AYALA//
Even though we had a presidential election, we also had local elections in Oakland. Local elections consisted of school board members and city council members for Districts 1,3,5, and 7. Measures on the ballot were Measure QQ letting 16 and 17-year-olds vote for school board members. QQ is critical because youth are the next generation. Our voices need to be heard because the laws or rules being made harm us, and we need to take action. Another measure that I advocated for was Measure Y that was money to give to multiple schools naming CCPA in the list to build new buildings for the expansion and maybe even a better field. When both passed, I was so happy and full of joy to know that all my hard work was paid off. Even when All City Council Oakland Unified School District student union found out, we were so happy to see that informing people, phone banking, and advocating was worth it. Many youths have had mixed feelings about the school board members that won because some have said that there are not enough women being represented or what they have said is not what students believe is right for OUSD. For myself, I am so happy for the outcome of the city council members that won in District 3 and 7—having Carroll Fife for D3 and Treva Reid for D7! Now, like students, educators, and adult allies, will need to hold accountable school board and City Council members to the promises they have made to the Black and Brown community and lead us to be successful in our future.
//GEN Z BY XOCHITL DIAZ //
Generation Z, ages 8-23, are the most diverse generation during the history of elections. Almost 50% of white, ages 18-29, people voted for the re-election of Donald Trump, while the younger generations of Black and Latinx voters enthusiastically voted for Joe Biden. Not to anyone’s surprise, Gen Z played a big role in the election turnout as 65% of Gen Z voted for Joe Biden.
Gen Z’s vote was crucial in Pennsylvania and Georgia because without it, Biden faced the risk of losing the November 2020 Presidential Election. As youth become involved in democracy, their demands have more urgency when discussing systemic racism, climate change, and COVID-19.
Gen Z’s racial diversity proved useful in this year’s election since non-white voters, predominately voted for Joe Biden, ending the re-election(low-key dictatorship) of Donald Trump.
How did Gen Z that who couldn’t vote, get involved? Youth became politically educated and made sure to put family, friends, and etc in their place. Faced with the difficulty of adultism, Gen Z was invalidated and continued to fight for the rights of marginalized communities in the United States. Other alternatives were through social media. The digital world was specifically involved in the upbringing of Gen Z. Now we are reliant on the digital world in order to educate and share information.
With exposure to the digital world, diverse communities, and urgent issues, Gen Z allowed the rights of marginalized communities to be revisited and changed for the better.