Election draws to a close.

The 2020 presidential election has faced many challenges over the course of the campaign. From controversial topics to the coronavirus pandemic, candidates have been center stage as voters have critiqued how each would respond. 

At last week’s debate, Americans were able to take one final examination of the two candidates before casting their ballots. As a result, long lines were witnessed across the state of Tennessee as people exercised their right to vote.  In fact, Tennessee early voting broke records with an increase of 91%, according to the Tennesseean

Leading into the debate, there were still many undecided voters who were seeking answers as to where each candidate stood on key issues.  Tennessee Senator Paul Bailey said he felt that these voters received the answers they needed to make a decision.  

“I believe undecided voters came away with a lot of clarity after the last presidential debate. I believe after watching the final debate that people came away with a good understanding of which candidate is the right fit to lead this nation in the direction it needs to go in,” said Bailey.

Despite the differences in the candidates, some voters have found it a challenge to lean one way more than the other feeling confident about who to support. Certain undecided voters disagree with the policies or persona of either of the candidates. At the same time, third-party voters have been deciding who will run the country best the next four years. The economy, the coronavirus, the workforce and American families have been the main topics undecided voters have focused upon. Swing states tend to determine the winner of the election, which is why gaining the support of undecided voters was important and a crucial element going into last week’s debate.

Senator Paul Bailey sits at his stand for the Tennessee State Senate.

Matthew Nicholson, a Cookeville resident who is studying at Belmont, had the opportunity to work the help desk in the Media tent during the last presidential debate helping journalists with tech and general organization. This allowed him to have a front row seat to the media covering the debate, which he felt was the next best thing to being in the debate hall itself. In regards to his perspective as a first-time voter in a presidential election, Nicholson agreed that the needed information for those who were still unsure was provided.

“Any undecideds should have more than enough informational backing to pick one candidate or the other. The beauty of democracy is that we are able to make our own choices on who becomes our leaders,” Nicholson said.

This key message is one that continues to be repeated when speaking of the importance of voting in this election by both young and more mature voters.

Bailey expressed his thoughts about the difference in the last  presidential debate compared to the first one.   

One thing that stood out to me about this Presidential debate was that both men showed each other more respect on stage than the first debate…It’s important leaders lead by their examples, and I hope the actions of the final debate set a good example for our younger generation,” Bailey said.

It was this behavior that was under the spotlight as a result of the previous debates where many Americans found themselves even more uncertain as to who would be the better candidate to lead our country. 

Both politicians and other Americans have a lot at stake when it comes to the outcome of any election. This one is no different. Each voice has the opportunity to be heard regardless of occupation, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, gender or race. That is democracy.  As the 2020 presidential election comes to an end, our nation will move forward as Americans united by the same dream of living in a country where we can enjoy our freedoms, rights and the pursuit of happiness.