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From The Pandemic To Protests: 2020's Biggest Issues Are Pushing DeKalb County Voters To The Polls

Peter Medlin
Voters in DeKalb cast their ballots.

DeKalb County -- like many counties across the country -- shattered early voting and vote-by-mail records. But that doesn’t mean the polls have slowed down on Election Day, amid COVID-19 safety measures.

Election judges at some precincts said that by noon they were closing in on full-day totals from the 2016 election.

“This is actually one of my first times voting,” said LeShawn Jackson. He was a part of protests in DeKalb this summer.

The movement for racial justice and police reform was a major reason he needed to cast his ballot. 

“Of course, Black Lives Matter has been going on and everything. I don't feel like Trump is very supportive of our cause or anything like that,” said Jackson.

Credit Peter Medlin

He said he doesn’t think Joe Biden isn’t a cure-all but will be more behind that cause. The Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic has also become a top priority for many voters.

But has the pandemic changed who voters are choosing for the highest office in the land? For 65-year-old Robert Hunyard, it has.

“I would say yes. I think our government faltered,” he said. “In the places these people are standing power-wise, you got to stand there and take the responsibility.”

Hunyard is diabetic. Along with his age, that puts him more at risk. He said it bothers him to see government officials downplay the severity of the coronavirus.

Credit Peter Medlin

DeKalb resident Jerry Halverson said he often doesn’t know what to believe because of the onslaught of news. He said he always votes, but added the pandemic impacted who he’s voting for this time around.

Several voters, like Halverson, talked about DeKalb County’s rising COVID-19 case counts and the need to listen to experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci to combat the virus.