As the 2020 Election Day drew to an end, Montclair State University residents rushed to vote with last-minute mail-in ballots and in-person voting.
The Montclair State Votes Coalition helped with this by providing shuttle buses to and from the two different polling stations in Montclair and Little Falls.
Kat Gilvey, a sophomore business administration major and Bonner Leader, explains that she volunteers her time with the Montclair State Votes Coalition by helping them in every aspect of the election. Earlier today, she took the bus to and from the Little Falls polling location.
“For today, we have mostly focused on getting students to polling places, [because] it’s the last day to vote,” Gilvey said. “I would say on the shuttle we had today, we saw about 20 students [riding] so far, never all at once, but just throughout the day.”
Between the two buses running to both polling places, the numbers were a little more than two dozen. Though student turnout was small, the students that were on the buses recognized the importance of going to the polls.
Nariah McKnight, a senior family science and human development major, participated in her second presidential election today.
“Particularly because Montclair [State] allows the shuttle option, it allows it to be accessible. It allows us to practically access the right to vote because when we are not in school anymore, it is going to be on us to lead,” McKnight said. ”Being able to do this in our 20s, we are young, but we are showing that we care [about] what is going on in this country.”
The shuttle buses ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., allowing students to catch them before or after their classes. However, not all students were able to vote in Montclair or Little Falls.
Rebecca Kobik, a freshman television and digital media major, explained that since she is registered to vote in South Jersey, she could not hand in her ballot at the North Jersey polling stations.
“You can’t put [your mail-in ballot] in a drop box in a different county than you are from; you have to put it in the actual mailbox,” Kobik said.
Kobik added that polling officials explained that people can only deliver their mail-in ballots to polling locations where they are registered.
“It has to be from your area, but I’m not driving two hours home. I’m just going to go back to Montclair [State] and take a Lyft or an Uber, and then I’m going to go to the post office to drop [my ballot] off,” Kobik said.
Kobik dropped off her ballot at a Montclair post office at 4:30 p.m.
Yelizen Nuazz, one of Montclair State’s shuttle drivers, was responsible for transporting Montclair State students to and from Montclair’s polling location today. She explained that she was inspired and excited to see students waiting to board the bus.
“I come from another country, and then I had to wait for the right to vote. Then I got my citizenship [and] I was so excited to go and vote; it feels so good to go ahead and vote,” Nuazz said. “For me, to see a student go ahead and vote, it’s amazing.”