Slate Fare

Slate Staffers Reveal How They’re Voting in the 2020 Election

A hand deposits a ballot in a box. A circle surrounds the scene.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

This is the sixth presidential election in which we’ve asked Slate staffers and contributors to violate the sanctity of the ballot box and reveal whom they’re voting for—not something that journalists, traditionally, were supposed to do. But we’re opinion journalists, at a publication that has long challenged the pretenses of strict journalistic objectivity while still striving for strict journalistic accuracy.

Also: Nothing we’re saying here will come as much of a revelation anyway.

No one in this voluntary survey is voting for Trump. But not everyone is voting for Biden either.

Advertisement

The last time any Slate staffer voted Republican in this survey was for Romney in 2012. Will that be the last time ever? That’s kind of up to the Republican Party more than it’s up to Slate.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

We also asked staffers to tell us whom they voted for in the primary, and how they actually voted in the general: by mail or in person, early or day of. And we asked them to tell us how they feel about their vote, which was another way of asking about their hopes (and fears) for what comes next.—Jared Hohlt, editor in chief

Sam Adams, senior editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Joe Biden
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I voted via drop box for the same reason I’m voting for Joe Biden: the pandemic. There are a million other reasons why Trump needs to lose, and why the entire Republican Party needs to be driven, electorally speaking, into the sea. But the administration’s catastrophically inept and irresponsible response to COVID-19 has cost untold numbers of unnecessary deaths and threatened to erode the last shred of global credibility the U.S. has left. Never has a vote felt less like a choice and more like an existential necessity.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Rosie Belson, assistant producer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: By mail
Voting by mail has been my typical method to cast my ballot since I started college and wasn’t able to easily access my polling place. Now with COVID-19, I didn’t want to add to the number of people trying to vote in person. So I opted to continue voting by mail. In terms of the candidate I selected, it wasn’t so much a vote out of enthusiasm for Biden. Instead, it was a vote for the restoration of respect, accountability, and trust. For progress and equity, hopefully.

Advertisement

Jeffrey Bloomer, features editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: By mail
I landed on Warren in the primary, and I have already voted for Biden in the general. I no longer feel things this year after the Supreme Court, but maybe somewhere I have a tiny, vanishing bit of hope.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bill Carey, senior director of strategy
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: By mail
Voting was a cinch. I had initially planned to early vote in person, but I decided to apply for a mail-in ballot and see if it got here in time. It did—remarkably quickly, in fact—and I was able to send off my vote two-plus weeks before the election.

Christina Cauterucci, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I voted for Elizabeth Warren because she thinks and leads with moral clarity on income inequality, health care, climate change, and the urgent threats the modern-day GOP poses to U.S. democracy. She is smart as hell, has a history of engineering transformative change, and took deliberate steps to prove she’d be held accountable to the Black women who form the backbone of the Democratic Party.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

I voted for Joe Biden because the nation and the planet as we know them will not survive another four years under Donald Trump.

Jayson De Leon, senior producer of What Next
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Joe Biden
Voting method: By mail
This is my first year voting in a presidential election in a non–swing state and it sort of … sucks! Florida has its flaws (to put it mildly), but at least when I’m waiting in line for hours I get to feel that rush of “maybe my vote will be the one that turns the whole thing.” Anyway, I voted in the New York primary for Joe Biden because he had the nomination wrapped up by the time it rolled around. (I was in between supporting Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren early on). And I voted by mail for Biden in the general because (points in various directions).

Advertisement
Advertisement

I considered myself an independent in Florida open to splitting my ticket, but I’m a registered Democrat now and don’t see a world where I’d vote for a Republican again. Trump is a generational stain on the party. It’ll be hard to forget those who enabled him and acted small and cowardly when the people of our country needed someone to show up.

Advertisement

Matthew Dessem, nights and weekends culture editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Bernie Sanders
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary because I hoped to avoid spending my old age cruising up and down the coast of Arizona on a rusty Jet Ski, scavenging gasoline and canned food while trying to avoid the Deacon and his gang of murderous thugs. But now that the primaries are over and a civilization-ending environmental collapse has been more or less locked in, I’m proud to cast my vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Advertisement

Madeline Ducharme, production assistant
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: Ballot drop box
Back during the primary, I was still registered in California, even though I had moved to D.C. With pandemic restrictions that made changing my absentee mailing address nearly impossible, I sadly missed my chance to vote for Bernie Sanders. I’m still disappointed that the Democratic Party landed on Biden, of all the people running, but obviously I voted for him because there are so many distinctly Trump administration–era nightmares I want to be over.

Jonathan Fischer, technology editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Independent
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I filled out my ballot early enough to mail it with confidence, but there is a drop box three blocks from my house, so I did that. Should be the case everywhere!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

I agreed with Elizabeth Warren’s detailed, progressive policies mostly across the board. I trusted her in a crisis. I admired the clarity and humanity with which she communicated policy topics that can feel abstract. She was almost worth joining a political party for! (Not that it would have mattered—by the time of the D.C. primary, the contest was way past over.)

The general: Biden used a campaign he’s been winning all the way through to convince me of his fundamental decency—we deserve that, and maybe a bit his boringness too. He has a good platform, his message is treacly, but as long as that instinct doesn’t neuter his policy agenda, I’m fine with it. First up: If he wins, I hope he doesn’t get rolled by austerity zealots as he begins to deal with the huge economic and public health mess he will inherit. I also hope we never forget who made that mess—and who enabled it, too.

Advertisement

Jeff Friedrich, associate editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Bernie Sanders
Voting method: In person, early
The country needs radical reform to have any hope of addressing problems like climate change, income inequality, and structural racism. Anything less than a Democratic trifecta and 54 seats in the Senate will be a disappointment.

Advertisement

Benjamin Frisch, podcast producer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, early
The choice is beyond obvious for anyone with an interest in preserving constitutional order. That was true in 2016 as well, but with the weight of four years of political horror weighing me down, going to the polls feels much more personal and cathartic than it ever has before. Biden wasn’t my primary candidate, but I’ve been heartened by the relative competence of his campaign. Still, my vote for Biden is more a vote against the current order than anything else. I would swim through a pool of lava with weights around my feet in order to cast my vote, at this point.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Amanda Godman, publicist
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: By mail
I hate to be this person, but I feel like, at this point, this doesn’t even need an explanation! 2020 has spoken for itself.

Henry Grabar, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, on Nov. 3
I thought Elizabeth Warren had the best ideas and that’s why I voted for her in the primary. In the general election, I’ll vote for Joe Biden.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Mary Harris, host of What Next
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: In person, early
I actually planned to vote by mail in this election. A friend told me how to request my ballot, and I was feeling so proud of myself—until my ballot arrived and the return envelope was addressed incorrectly. This is an error that happened to lots of voters in New York City, but it soured me on the prospect of mailing in my ballot. And, yes, I’m voting for Biden. I thought my colleague Christina Cauterucci said it best when she argued back in April that progressives should vote for the opponent the left wants in the White House.

Advertisement

Jared Hohlt, editor in chief
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, early
Were it not for Andrew Yang, the New York primary, canceled back in April, would not have happened at all. By June 23, it was even more of an electoral exercise without electoral consequence. But I’d been very much looking forward to voting for Warren, and I was very happy to fill in the bubble by her name. I was also very happy to be able to vote early, in person, for the general, during the first time New York allowed early voting in a presidential election. I love seeing neighbors when I vote, and I especially loved it this year.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Aymann Ismail, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Bernie Sanders
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I’d mail my mail-in-ballot, but I’m concerned because of the Trump admin’s sabotage of the USPS, and worried that my signature won’t match my voter registration, so I’m planning on dropping my ballot off at my county clerk’s office to make sure it’s counted.

Advertisement

Derek John, senior producer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Joe Biden
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I used an early voting ballot drop box instead of going to the polling place in person because my wife is immunocompromised.

Megan Kallstrom, legal coordinator
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Missed the primary due to confusion caused by a combination of the general coronavirus upheaval and New York’s voting policies, much to my regret.
Voting method: By mail
For me, the phrase that best encapsulates the past four years is a headline from a June 2017 HuffPost story, which reads, “I Don’t Know How to Explain to You That You Should Care About Other People.” I’m going with the candidate who has demonstrated that he actually understands that basic moral precept. Obvious choice.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Fred Kaplan, War Stories columnist
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Joe Biden
Voting method: In person, early
My reasons for voting Biden in the general election are too numerous and obvious to go through. I voted for him in the primary for strictly pragmatic reasons: I thought he was the only candidate with a strong chance of beating Trump in the states Hillary lost in 2016. I also thought that Warren was too leftish for most voters (and that, objectively, some of her plans relied on funny math).

Josh Keating, senior editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: She had dropped out by the time D.C. held its primary, but I supported Elizabeth Warren.
Voting method: Ballot drop box
There are many serious and important reasons why I’m voting to remove Donald Trump from office, including his bigotry, his corruption, his disastrous handling of the pandemic, and the not-insignificant risk of global nuclear annihilation. But I’m assuming my colleagues will eloquently discuss all of these, so instead, I’ll share a petty and selfish reason for my vote: I am profoundly sick of writing about this guy.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trump is often called “erratic” or “unpredictable.” He is anything but. His administration seems erratic because it’s often not clear who’s actually making policy. Trump himself is reliably motivated by a narrow, transactional conception of his own self-interest, and by a bleak worldview that hasn’t absorbed any new facts or perspectives from the outside world since around 1987.

Advertisement

Due to the unique combination of his narcissism, his shamelessness, his logorrhea, and the fact that he’s the most powerful man on the planet, he generates tsunamis of media content at all times and somehow makes every story into a Trump story. That means anyone who engages heavily with the news is forced to live a significant portion of their waking hours inside Trump’s brain. And as my former colleague Katy Waldman wrote way back in early 2018, there’s really nothing new left to say about that brain.

Advertisement

Dan Kois, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: By mail
Donald Drumpf.

Greg Lavallee, director of technology
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Joe Biden
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I live in D.C. so my vote has a 1 in 210 trillion chance of affecting the outcome of the election. On the other hand, if I go to vote in person, my odds of catching COVID and then giving it to my in-laws are much, much, much better than 1 in 210 trillion. If my vote had a higher probability of affecting the outcome, I would have planned to vote in person early but then procrastinated until Election Day and voted in person on Nov. 3.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

In the primary, I voted for Biden because he was the only one I could see beating Trump. I voted for Biden in the general because I would vote for anyone I can think of other than Trump, including, but not limited to, (shudder) Jared Kushner, Mike Pence, or a table lamp.

Advertisement

Shasha Léonard, systems administrator
General election: Howie Hawkins (Green Party)
Primary: Registered as independent
Voting method: In person, early
Will the winner of this election be a white male (alleged) sexual predator in his late 70s who gives no fucks about the working class or passing “Medicare for All” during a pandemic? Yes! Do I have to pick which one I want that to be? Not according to the Electoral College I don’t! I’m in a solid blue state, so rather than waste my vote in the majority, I’ll be voting for the Green Party, whose platform pushes for progressive policies like “Medicare for All,” canceling student debt and private prisons, etc.

Advertisement

Do I think the Green Party will win? Hell no! But if they get 5 percent or more of the nationwide popular vote, they will get federal funding and ballot access for the 2022 midterms and 2024, which is historically meaningful and a step toward a future without a political duopoly.
Thanks to this broken two-party electoral system, my vote for a third party will not affect the outcome of the election, so vote shamers can go heckle abstainees instead—or better yet, spend their energy pushing for community, marginalized folks, and the environment from the grassroots upward. A vote is supposed to have power, but having to choose the lesser of two evils for generations in a corporate state has rendered the citizen, the working class, impotent. We will never achieve the systemic change necessary if we don’t address this.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Josh Levin, national editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, early
I would’ve been excited to cast my ballot for Elizabeth Warren—an eloquent spokesperson for the Democratic agenda! An effective bureaucrat!—if the primary hadn’t been decided long before we got a chance to have our say here in D.C. But I voted for Warren anyway. (Hooray?) I’m less thrilled to support Joe Biden, but casting a ballot for him felt way more thrilling, given the (totally symbolic, but still) opportunity to oust Donald Trump and the fact that I voted at Nationals Park, which, along with other stadiums and arenas all over the country, has been converted into a supersize polling place. Everything at the ballpark ran quickly and efficiently and painlessly, and when I was done I took a picture of the huge “Thank You for VOTING” sign on the center field scoreboard. It felt, in that moment, like I was living in a slightly better country, one committed to making it easier for everyone to vote. A nice delusion!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Lowen Liu, deputy editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: I had an absentee ballot snafu and the N.Y. primary wasn’t held until June, but I would have voted for Warren.
Voting method: In person, early
The easiest thing to do would have been to request an absentee and drop it off. But in part I wanted to experience the newfangled New York early voting process (sucker for punishment), and whatever happens, I’ll remember the feeling of being hypnotized by a too-long line and receiving an unexpected jolt at seeing the president’s name on the ballot, with the opportunity to choose someone else.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Lili Loofbourow, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I got my ballot in the mail but dropping it off in person seems like the safest option. Elizabeth Warren was in my view the best candidate—she’s pragmatic, detail-oriented, overflowing with sensible proposals for necessary change. Plus, she’s intelligent, healthy, vital, and not to be trifled with. (We all remember what she did to Mike Bloomberg.) But I’m voting for Biden because the alternative is unthinkable.

Advertisement

Bryan Lowder, associate editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: By mail
I am not so much voting for Biden as I am for the baseline possibility of having a government that might at least begin to respond to the various crises facing our country and world.

Aaron Mak, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I’m voting for Biden because the U.S. has reported more coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country. The U.S., which accounts for 4 percent of the world’s population, has been home to 20 percent of the world’s coronavirus deaths. The U.S., the wealthiest country in the world, has a death toll as a proportion of the population that’s seven times worse than the median developed country’s. If the U.S. had death rates comparable to France’s, more than 45,000 Americans would not have died from COVID-19. If the U.S. had death rates comparable to Canada’s, more than 117,000 Americans would not have died from COVID-19. If the U.S. had death rates comparable to South Korea’s, more than 196,000 Americans would not have died from COVID-19.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Marissa Martinelli, associate editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: Ballot drop box
When I took my mom to drop off her ballot, she made the sign of the cross. That’s pretty much where I’m at, too.

Ben Mathis-Lilley, senior writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I would have voted for Warren in the primary, but I live in New Jersey and its primary wasn’t held until July, when the race was wrapped up. I have always been a fan of her belief that our government needs to be more transparent and much less influenced by lobbying and fundraising, and I like her ideas for making the economy more fair and humane. At the same time, as someone who’s become more of a leftist in the past decade or so but still isn’t quite a democratic socialist, I like that she has an appreciation for Business Stuff like competition and growth; her overall platform isn’t that different than Sanders’, but I like that she comes to it from a place that seems to be a little more about giving individuals power and autonomy. (Between Biden and Sanders, I still would have voted for Sanders. He’s good, too!)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

I’m more enthusiastic about Biden as a potential president than I thought I would be. I think he’s shown that he’s less dogmatic than Clinton was about listening to and incorporating ideas from the progressive left, and the signals that he’s been sending about wanting to have a historic FDR-style presidency comport with the kind of ambition that I think is needed right now. I hope he wins!

Susan Matthews, news director
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, early
This is my first presidential election living in Virginia. Processwise, it’s been medium! I got to vote in a primary that mattered, which was nice. In mid-October, I went to vote early in person and had to wait in line for 45 minutes, which is longer than anyone should have to wait to vote and also pretty lucky considering what people in other states, and other places in Virginia, have been going through. I voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because I would like America to have a shot at not descending into autocracy.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Seth Maxon, associate editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Bernie Sanders
Voting method: In person, early
I voted early in person because I was afraid my mail-in ballot would contain errors due to institutional dysfunction or (even more likely) my own stupidity in filling it out and mailing it, and that it would thereby be discounted. I was also afraid it may be discounted or thrown out by the Trump campaign’s coming legal actions against mail-in ballots. Also, my early polling place is the historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, a beloved institution in which I thought it would feel appropriately grandiose to vote alongside my community.

Advertisement

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the New York primary because I agree with most of his and Elizabeth Warren’s ideas about the changes needed to make American society more just, humane, and well-functioning. By the time the primary came around to New York, Warren and Sanders had both dropped out, and Joe Biden had secured the nomination. Had the race remained competitive, I likely would have voted for Warren, who I think would be not just a trustworthy, extremely capable, and driven president for positive and urgent policy changes, but also more likely to realize more of her agenda than Sanders would be—essentially, she would be more effective and accomplish more. I filled the bubble for Sanders, though, because I thought maximizing Sanders votes would send a stronger message to the Biden campaign that it needed to make serious efforts to reach out to the Sanders-Warren wing of voters than maximizing delegates for Warren would.

Advertisement

I voted for Biden in the general for a number of reasons. One is that, unlike Donald Trump, Biden is not one of the most abhorrent human beings alive, and I think he has made good-faith efforts to work with people to his left and make them feel like their voices are heard. More importantly though, Trump has been among the most destructive presidents in American history. He ignored, downplayed, and lied about the COVID-19 pandemic, a failure that has caused most of America’s 225,000 deaths and counting. He implemented the family separation immigration policy, a crime against humanity. He has been the leading cause of a rising tide of hate against Black people, immigrants, Asian Americans, Muslims, and Jews. He has used his office to illegally enrich himself and his family (a constitutional violation for which he should have been impeached), to place himself and all future presidents above the law, and to delegitimize the election and destroy the power and meaning of voting itself. And in concert with Senate Republicans, he has stolen a seat on the Supreme Court that he never should have been allowed to fill. It’s almost an afterthought that he also doesn’t care about climate change, having implemented policies that have already and will only continue to increase carbon emissions and exacerbate the crisis. Trump is a direct existential and authoritarian threat to the nation and the world, and he must be stopped.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Abby McIntyre, assistant managing editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I believe that Black lives matter, climate change poses a serious threat, billionaires should pay more taxes, women have the right to choose, trans rights are human rights, immigrants make our country better, the minimum wage is way too low, health care should be a given, child care should be affordable, science is real, and having a racist, lying, plausibly accused rapist who has used the presidency solely to enrich himself and his family at the expense of American people in the White House is, well, not great.

Laura Miller, books and culture columnist
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, early
Even if Trump weren’t the anti-Christ, I would have voted Democratic like always.

Advertisement

Alicia Montgomery, executive producer of podcasts
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, early
I like in-person, brick-and-mortar stuff. So I want to go to a place, see a person, hold some kind of paper ballot, press buttons, get a sticker. I’m going early, because even basic tasks are a gamble this year, so I want to allow for the possibility that I’ll have to come back.

Advertisement

I voted for Elizabeth Warren in the primary, even though Biden was a lock way before I cast my ballot. I’m a Lisa Simpson/Shuri kind of feminist. My tribe is smart girls who do the homework and tell you the right answer and don’t care if it hurts your feelings. That’s Warren. Also, for most of my life, I’ve known that I have to vote Democratic in the general, so I’m not voting for a political “settle soul mate” in the primary. Joe Biden seems like a decent person who won’t fill his pockets at taxpayer expense, disrespect veterans, or shrug his shoulders if an aide is exposed as a white supremacist or as a white supremacist sympathizer.

Advertisement
Advertisement

As a Black woman, I’m a single-issue voter. That’s my son’s safety. I would love to tell him that all he has to do to avoid being arrested, brutalized, or killed by police is to obey the law. But that’s a lie. Democrats at least pay lip service to the idea that if my son were shot, tased, beaten or suffocated to death for annoying a cop, well, that would be kinda bad. “Maybe we should investigate or something, write a strongly worded letter, tell the mom that we’re sorry if having her child killed at the hands of a government worker—paid in part with her tax dollars—hurt her feelings.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

I have no delusions that Joe Biden or any other Democrat will stop police brutality, but if one cop hesitates before firing a shot into a Black American’s back, thinking, “Gosh, the paperwork if I kill this guy will be a bear,” that’s better than zero. As it stands, brutal cops have a vocal friend in the White House.

Advertisement

For a while there, I thought I might live to see a viable second-party option. Whatever his MANY failings, George W. Bush seemed sincere in welcoming at least conservative POC to the GOP, even if that meant telling obvious bigots to shut up once in a while. But after what I’ve seen over the past four years, there probably won’t be a Republican I can vote for in my lifetime. So, yeah. Go Biden … or whatever.

Jim Newell, senior politics writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Joe Biden
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I’m voting by ballot drop box because there’s one a few minutes’ walk from my home. I voted for Joe Biden in the D.C. primary because the nomination contest was over, which saved me from having to make a decision I spent a year being unable to make. I’m voting for him in the general election because even though he’s self-evidently lost a step, he’s capable enough and I like him. Rather than write another 10,000 words here and not get any other work done, I will just say that I do not care for Donald Trump.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Rebecca Onion, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Bernie Sanders
Voting method: In person, early
I voted early and in person because I wanted to know my vote was safe from being screwed with by the USPS, the GOP, and/or SCOTUS. I voted for Sanders in the primary because I believed in his big vision of what could be possible in the U.S. if we decided to take care of one another a little better. (I also believed the vision could inspire others in the general election, even people who don’t generally vote.) I voted Biden in the general because I care about other people and want them to keep on living and maybe even enjoy some modest feelings of safety and happiness? (I know… let’s not go crazy with it.)

Advertisement

Nitish Pahwa, copy editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: My home state never sent me my absentee ballot. If it had, I would have voted for Bernie Sanders.
Voting method: By mail
It should be obvious why I voted for Joe Biden, so I’m not going to expound on that. Rather, I’ll note that this is the second election cycle in a row where I’ve not received my primary absentee ballot in a timely manner. If I had gotten mine as I’d requested this year, I would have voted for the other ancient white guy in the most diverse Democratic field in history, Bernie Sanders.

Advertisement
Advertisement

There were other candidates in the primary I did generally like (mainly Elizabeth Warren). But it’s as true now as it was in 2016 that Sanders is the only national political figure in my lifetime who has pushed hardest and loudest on many issues I’ve long cared about—on addressing civil rights, income inequality, climate change, public benefits for all, our imperialistic foreign policy and interventions, our unjust trade deals—and had the record to back it up. He of course had problems, but as could be seen in the changes in his platform from 2016 to 2020, there was no doubt he could be pushed to change his mind when appropriate—and that he actually gives a shit about the people who’ve been most hurt by this cruel country. It is in part thanks to Sanders that the political discourse has shifted so much for the better on all the aforementioned issues, that they’re being treated on a wider scale with the urgency they require, that we’re seeing more prominent politicians like AOC and Ilhan Omar rising up and boldly staking out ambitious, necessary, supposedly “far-left” positions, leading the charge for a better future. To see Sanders run again this year, giving it his all even though a heart attack, locking down the early caucuses—well, all I can say now is it was nice to feel something like hope again.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Shannon Palus, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: In person, early
I’m voting early for Biden, in person, because cases in Brooklyn are low, and voting in person is pretty low-risk anyway. Going early gives me the option of turning around and coming back later if it’s super crowded or something, and is also something productive to do with my election/COVID/everything anxiety.

Seung Park, senior audience development editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: In person, early
I feel more confident (perhaps illogically) that my vote is more likely to be counted if I cast it in person instead of sending it by mail.

Willa Paskin, TV critic and host of Decoder Ring
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, early
Having spent 2½ hours in line to vote early, I feel confident I should have voted on Election Day itself, but when you’re trying to wake up from a nightmare, you want it to happen as soon as possible.

Mike Pesca, host of The Gist
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Joe Biden
Voting method: In person, early
Stakes are low in N.Y.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Justin Peters, correspondent
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: By mail
I would have voted for Elizabeth Warren in the primary if I had voted in the primary, but the nomination was sewn up by the time my primary came along, and anyway there was this pandemic happening that made me very reluctant to leave my house for anything other than brisk walks or beer runs. I am still reluctant to leave my house, which is why I voted by mail for Amtrak Joe Biden, who is honestly too old for this but will nevertheless be fine. He’ll be fine! “Fine” is a legitimate virtue in these volatile and stupid times. Joe Biden will not court and empower white supremacists, he will not assemble a Cabinet comprised exclusively of malevolent numbnuts, he will not take policy advice from talk radio dipshits, and he will never launch a nuclear strike in retaliation for something mean that Rosie O’Donnell said about him. He will be fine, and “fine” is fine with me. I am also looking forward to having a “train guy” in the White House for the first time since the Truman administration.

Advertisement

Gabriel Roth, editorial director, audio
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: Ballot drop box
This exercise feels archaic. [Update, Nov. 2, 2020: Meaning this post where we say whom we’re voting for, not the voting itself!]

Advertisement

Asha Saluja, podcast operations manager
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Bernie Sanders (kind of)
Voting method: By mail
I tried my best to vote for a winning set of Bernie-pledged delegates in New York’s confusing post-nomination primary. I felt supportive of both Warren and Sanders throughout the primary season, and if the vote had counted I probably would have gone with Warren. Delegate game theory aside, since the exercise was basically hypothetical, I allowed myself to (attempt to) vote with my heart instead of my head.

In the general I’m voting for Biden. The day after Trump’s election was unthinkably crushing, and there have been many far more crushing days since—the GOP’s evil is metastasizing to make life in this country so bleak. This vote was an obvious choice for me, but it also really fueled my rage toward the system I’m voting in, in a way that the last two presidential elections have not.

I voted by mail in both elections, which I will count as a blue-state privilege. (For the general election, I am away from New York.)

William Saletan, national correspondent
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Pete Buttigieg
Voting method: In person, early
If Biden turned out to be our second-worst president, he’d still be better than Trump.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Elena Schwartz, producer for What Next
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: By mail
I want to see health care access expanded, Black and brown lives respected, the right to abortion protected, educational opportunities made more widely available, and the pandemic brought under control.

Advertisement

Tom Scocca, politics editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: In person, early
I’m voting early in person to avoid the twin hazards of the broken Postal Service and any Election Day meltdowns. I voted for Warren in the New York primary even though the race was over because I believe there should be some point in the process where you vote for the candidate you genuinely think would be the best president rather than try to game the process with guesswork about other people’s opinions about electability. Now I’m voting for Biden and hoping that overwhelming electability can still translate into the ability to win an election.

Aviva Shen, senior editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Bernie Sanders
Voting method: In person, early
New York royally botched its primary, so I didn’t trust that my vote would be counted, at least not in a timely way, if I voted by mail this time. My experience voting early in person was relatively seamless—I only had to wait 40 minutes. When I left the precinct and headed home, I walked past six prisoner transport vans and at least 50 police officers milling around about an hour before a planned march against police brutality. This presidential election is a choice between a candidate who wants police to shoot to kill and a candidate who has repeatedly offered “just shoot them in the leg” as a reform. Like many people, I see voting for Joe Biden as harm reduction at best. And in the event of a contested election, I want to maximize Biden’s popular vote count. But further down the ballot, I got to vote for two actual socialists who won Democratic primaries for state legislative seats. I’m trying to keep in mind that progressive change builds from the bottom.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Jeremy Stahl, senior editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: Ballot drop box
For the primary: I filled out a ballot for Bernie Sanders and put it in my mailbox as I went away the week before the South Carolina primary for my wedding weekend, thinking Sanders was the assured general election candidate with the Democratic primary field split and following his dominant performance in the demographically diverse state of Nevada. My feeling was that a long, drawn-out primary with a hugely split field would be bad for the Democrats—and thus for their chances of defeating the worst, most dangerous president of my lifetime—and a vote for Sanders was a vote to get it all over with. I returned home, a newly and happily married man, to find that the mail carrier never took my ballot and Joe Biden was suddenly in pole position for the nomination, having won by enormous margins in South Carolina behind the support of the state’s mostly Black Democratic electorate, with his chief non-Bernie rivals having dropped out to endorse him, and leading in the Super Tuesday polls. I ripped up my vote for Sanders and did not cast a ballot in the primary, feeling no actual preference for him or any candidate aside from Sen. Kamala Harris, who had already dropped out at that point.

Advertisement
Advertisement

For the general: See the thing about the worst, most dangerous president of my lifetime and also the thing about Kamala Harris. Also, I think Joe Biden is decent guy who can maybe, hopefully be pulled to the places he will need to go to secure and restore American democracy, which is currently hanging by the thinnest of threads.

Mark Joseph Stern, staff writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: By mail
Surely my reasons for supporting Biden are self-evident, so I’ll defend my vote for Warren in the D.C. primary (which took place after she dropped out). I truly believe in Warren’s vision for what the federal government can and should do to end the disgusting plutocratic rule over this country. No one should be able to accrue billions of dollars while millions of their fellow citizens lack food, shelter, education, and access to health care. Warren proposed smart, practical policies to address the extreme income inequality that is eating away at America’s civic foundations, which inspired me to support her candidacy.

Advertisement

I am ultimately glad that Biden got the nomination because he is clearly the man for the moment; I’m also happy to see he has adopted many of Warren’s policies and taken her on as a key economic adviser. I hope he continues to move in the directions she pointed at, because our current course is leading us toward disunion.

Advertisement

Seth Stevenson, senior writer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: By mail
Just trying to prevent a rapid slide into autocracy, NBD.

Whitney Tesi, intern
General election: Biden or Howie Hawkins, not sure yet
Primary: Bernie Sanders
Voting method: In person, early.
Voting in person because I feel safe doing so. Bernie Sanders is very progressive (wants to forgive student loan debt, pass universal health care, raise taxes on the rich, etc.). I feel like Biden has not earned my vote and his track record has been deemed problematic so I am unsure of whether to vote for him. I align with Howie Hawkins more, politically.

June M. Thomas, senior managing producer
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren. I guess I needed to be reminded what a powerful force sexism is.
Voting method: By mail
We have always had inexplicably long lines at my polling place, so voting by mail felt like a relief. Joe Biden was my last choice from the Democratic field (including those guys I’d never heard of before they showed up on the stage in the early debates) but rather him than an incompetent, cruel, deceitful autocrat. No contest.

Chau Tu, Slate Plus editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: By mail
We’ve seen what Donald Trump has done to this country, and how he supports hatred and white supremacy. He’s just as terrible as we thought he would be, and it’s time for this to end. Though I think my political views align more closely to Bernie Sanders’, I voted for Elizabeth Warren in the primary because I thought her more moderate politics would better convince swing voters during the general election. But I’ll take Biden for now, and hopefully we can finally move forward out of the muck and mess of the past four years.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Jordan Weissmann, senior business and economics correspondent
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I’m dropping my ballot in a collection box because it seems convenient. I didn’t vote in the primary because by the time D.C.’s rolled around the race was effectively over. Had it been a live contest, I likely would have backed Sanders, partly because I preferred his approach to foreign policy and partly because I wanted a real progressive champion in the White House, even if I disagreed with many of his specific policy stances.

For the general, I am voting for Joe Biden (and hopefully a semblance of normalcy).

Sofie Werthan, social media editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Didn’t vote
Voting method: Ballot drop box
I am voting for Joe Biden, even though I am not enthusiastic about him as a candidate. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were my top choices in the Democratic primary. I am not keen on Biden’s moderate positions, and I worry he lacks the courage, vision, and stamina necessary to implement the progressive changes I think this country needs (such as universal health care, racial justice, economic justice, and a proactive plan to address climate change).

That being said, my mantra for voting in U.S. elections is a quote by Rebecca Solnit: “I think of voting as a chess move, not a valentine.” I don’t have to love Biden as a candidate to vote for him. Instead, I see my vote for him as a strategic, calculated choice, made because I believe there’s a better chance of achieving meaningful progress—albeit incrementally—with Biden in the White House than with four more years of Donald Trump.

Forrest Wickman, culture editor
General election: Joe Biden
Primary: Elizabeth Warren
Voting method: By mail
I am a white, college-educated voter, so my preference for Warren in the primary should come as little surprise, and as much as I still sincerely believe she would have done the best job of governing, I try to retain some humility about how my background has affected my preferences. (Remember the many Black Americans who voted for Biden in the primary on the belief that he would have the best chance of winning the general election? I think there is a strong case the past several months have proved they were correct.) As for my vote for Biden over Trump, my reasons have not changed from how I summarized them in 2016:

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement