From Where We Are

Students in key battleground states reflect on nationwide division and uncertainty

Knowing their votes “really mattered” motivated many college students in battleground states get out and vote.

As anticipated, this election is being decided by a handful of key battleground states. College students in these states participated passionately, with the knowledge that their votes could determine who would be the next president! Savannah Welch has more on what we’ll call “election hangover!”


The nation remains in a state of limbo as key battleground states continue to count ballots after Tuesday’s presidential election.

Unlike other states, which began counting their early ballots before November third, swing states Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin started... on election day. Being among the last to report these states pivotal in determining the outcome of the election.

Earlier today, the Associated Press called Michigan and Wisconsin for Joe Biden.

Ryan Fisher is a junior at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and a self-described conservative. He sees the election as creating a culture clash on campus... between Democrats and Republicans.

"People used to hate politics for how it divided people. Today, we hate each other because of divided politics. I find that this election is going to do very little to change that, unfortunately.”

The 2020 election has political tensions to new heights. Fisher says he feels this division... even at a personal level.

“It shows that not only is there still that divide, but I would argue that it’s almost a stronger divide than before. Simply because red states in many cases have become redder, blue states have become bluer. And there are many swing states that are towing the line, but it’s becoming a very serious phenomenon.”

In 2016, the president of the University of Michigan held a candlelight vigil... for people unhappy with the election results. Fisher wonders.. If they’ll do that this year… if Biden wins.

“If Trump ends up losing, I’ll be interested in seeing if I get my candlelight vigil, I somehow doubt it. But I’ll be interested to see what the climate’s like certainly in the next few weeks.”

University of Pennsylvania freshman Sophie Mwaisela cast her vote for the first time from Maryland. She says this election week has her on edge.

“I’m definitely feeling more stressed since it’s drawn out like I have trouble focusing on my school work and homework is hard to focus without checking what’s going on. It would have been more of a relief to have it over and done with last night and have the rest of the week to catch up on work.”

Hannah Fortier is a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She’s from Chicago but this year… she made sure to vote.. in Wisconsin.

“I know Illinois is a historically blue state, and I think my vote matters more in Wisconsin. And going to school in Wisconsin, the student population is a big reason that could affect the election, so I wanted to be part of that.”

Fortier says the nationwide division hits closer to home … literally. Her roommates are very divided on the election.

“It’s been a little awkward. We’ve had conversations that make it very clear that we view things differently. I don’t know, I have my beliefs and those aren’t gonna change, and they seem to have theirs that aren’t going to change.”

Whether they voted for Biden or Trump, Fortier and her roommates are excited that their votes will make an impact. They’d just like to know who won.

For Annenberg Media… I’m Savannah Welch.