BronxVotes: Trying Everything to Change Friends’ Minds

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Satinath Choudhary

Tiye Sheppard

Satinath Choudhary

Two freshman were joking in a lobby off to the side of the Manhattan College classroom that had been repurposed as a local polling center.

They had just cast their first votes for president, and they were pumped.

“I’ve known since last year I was going to vote for him,” said Nick Priess, 18, a communications major.

“Neither of them are trustworthy,” said Tammy, 18, a freshman who declined to share her real name but said she hopes to run for president herself in 2036. For now, she said she is afraid that if Trump wins she’ll be criticized for voting him in.

“I’m for LGBT rights and reproductive rights, but economics and foreign policy just mean more to me,” said Tammy. “I feel like I’m more voting for the Republican platform, not so much for Trump.”

“With all the scandals and stuff I think there should’ve been a better person than him,” said Priess.

Meanwhile, unlike the rest of people coming to the classroom to vote, Satinath Choudhary, 76, turned up to take pictures instead.

“Some of my friends are still undecided,” said Choudhary. “I’m sharing some pictures to encourage them to vote.”

Originally from India, Choudhary is not a naturalized citizen and cannot vote in the United States. But he said he wishes he could.

“I’ve always been a politically engaged person. This time the stakes are much higher,” he said.

Choudhary said he supported Hillary Clinton. “I’m not so much happy for her winning but for defeating Trump,” he said. “Voting for Jill Stein is misguided. She can’t defeat someone.”

Choudhary snapped pictures of voters entering the polling center, sending them to friends in a group chat who were not intending to vote.

“I don’t know if it will change their mind. They are too strong-headed,” he said.

Christine Figueredo, 26, waited outside the front doors to the same polling center. Inside the classroom, her mother, Theresa Figueredo, 62, cast her vote for Hillary Clinton.

“She’s mad at me. I didn’t want to register to vote because I didn’t want to do jury duty,” said Christine.
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“You have these rights that you may not have had in my country,” said her mother, who immigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1967.

Christine said she was surprised her mother voted for Clinton. “It’s really interesting because most white Cubans are Republican,” said Christine.

“He doesn’t realize that what he says can get people killed,” Theresa countered. “Trump’s worse than Fidel.”

One woman could not wait to tell everyone how she voted.

“You know who I voted for? Hillary Clinton,” shouted Tammy Rodriguez, 66, as she placed her “I Voted’ sticker on her jacket. “I predict that she’s gonna be the first woman president of the United States of America.”

Rodriguez, is an MTA employee and sister of Eddy Rodriguez, the president of Local 1549, the union for clerical administrative employees in New York City. “You know we’re the ones that got Obama elected, the unions get it done,” she said. “My brother got all his members to vote for Hillary.”

Rodriguez, a native New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent, said many Hispanics had a hard time voting throughout the Bronx on Tuesday.

“You know in Riverdale they keep everything nice and fix it right away. I heard this morning people in the South Bronx were waiting for two hours,” she said.

City Limits is partnering with the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on covering Election 2016 in the Bronx.

One thought on “BronxVotes: Trying Everything to Change Friends’ Minds

  1. Fantastic article Ms. Sheppard! You brilliantly combine the intersectionality of the individuals in your article while staying true to what each one articulated to you. In this way, regardless of belief systems and party lines, you allow people to be seen, heard and valued!

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