Women Could Decide the Election. Here’s How They’re Voting.

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As for women who support Mr. Trump, they tend to score higher on scales of “racial resentment,” said Kelly Dittmar, director of research at the Center for American Women and Politics, and they tend to worry about law and order in greater numbers.

But “to characterize the women’s vote as if it stands for a single ideology or agenda would be too simplistic,” Ms. Dittmar said. “We would rarely make the same characterization for men.”

The New York Times interviewed women from across the country about how they’ll vote. Many of the women interviewed are voting in battleground states where the presidential contest is close, as are the down-ballot races.

Their interviews were edited for length and clarity.

Interviews by Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Emma Goldberg. Photographs by Béatrice de Géa.

“A united, loving nation — no matter what your skin color is, no matter what your gender is, no matter what any of it is — is what I’m fighting for from bed with Covid.”

Katie Mazzocco, 34, a small business owner
Pittsburgh

Who are you voting for?
Biden

How are you voting?
By mail

I got Covid on March 11. Before Covid, I didn’t have health problems. I walked a mile or two a day. I’m mom to 10-year-old twins; one of them has special needs, and I was always super busy advocating for them and running my own company. Then it all screeched to a halt. I’ve been sick and completely bed bound since March 11. I’ve had some symptoms go away and a lot of new ones show up. Long term, nobody can tell me if I’ll ever be much better again.
My husband is a schoolteacher. So luckily, he was off over the summer to help care for me. Now, in the fall, his school district decided that, for the first nine weeks, they would do virtual, but that timeline is starting to run out. I have heart problems now, lung problems and really significant neurological problems — so any bug he might bring home could kill me.
I already had so many issues with President Trump before the pandemic — foreign policy, environmental policy, L.G.B.T.Q. issues and the Muslim travel ban. But, for me, now living with Covid, I think it’s crazy the way that he’s gambling with people’s lives.
I’m doing everything I can from bed: I’m calling senators. I’m calling congress people. I’m signing petitions. I’ve text banked. I’ve probably texted 10,000 people from bed. I’ve written over 300 postcards and letters. A united, loving nation — no matter what your skin color is, no matter what your gender is, no matter what any of it is — is what I’m fighting for from bed with Covid.

“I think most Trump supporters look at him and cringe when they hear him speak. But his overall stance and the direction he wants the country to go in, that I approve of.”

Rebecca Gregory, 50, a nurse
Roseville, Mich.

Who are you voting for?
Trump

How are you voting?
In person

The majority of my vote has gone Republican or libertarian, though I did vote for Obama twice. I wasn’t impressed with Obama. I was happy to see some of the social aspects, like gay marriage and more support for Planned Parenthood, but as far as his foreign policy, he basically walked away from the Middle East. And when Obama started criticizing law enforcement and dividing the country, that’s when he really lost me. He just caused such a racial divide within the country.
Law enforcement is important to me. My husband is a court officer. We have to worry about our safety now. He stopped going to the gas station in uniform because he doesn’t want to be a target. We don’t go anywhere to eat after work unless he’s had time to change because we don’t want to get comments. I’ve heard people yell “pig” at him, “thug” and “skinhead.”
I’m satisfied with what Trump has done in his first term. I’m not always satisfied with his public speaking. I think most Trump supporters look at him and cringe when they hear him speak. But his overall stance and the direction he wants the country to go in, that I approve of. As for his taxes, everyone takes their taxes to an accountant for the exact purpose of paying as little taxes as possible. Why would he be any different? You can’t fault the man; you have to fault the tax laws.

“As Catholics, we’re taught to follow our conscience. I cannot in good conscience vote for either.”

Mary Reynolds, 66, a retired accountant
Overland Park, Kan.

Who are you voting for?
I am not voting for president. I will vote for Sharice Davids, my congresswoman and Barbara Bollier, for Senate.
How are you voting?
By mail

President Trump and Joe Biden are two sides of the same coin. I have always voted Democratic except for in 2016 when I voted Green. This is the best country in the world, quote-unquote, and the best we can come up with is Joe Biden and Donald Trump? We’re a laughingstock around the world. It’s so sad. As Catholics, we’re taught to follow our conscience. I cannot in good conscience vote for either.
I remember back in 1969 and 1970, when Nixon was president, he had put three or four people up for the Supreme Court. They did not all go through — it wasn’t automatic. There was true dialogue and discussion in the Senate.
I know what life was like before Roe v. Wade was law — knitting needles and horrible things. We cannot, cannot, cannot go back to what it was before. It is your right as a woman to say what goes on with your body. It’s very ironic that pro-life people want to control women’s bodies when it comes to abortion, yet no one can control their bodies when it comes to wearing a mask. I find that extremely ironic.
The Affordable Care Act, as far as I’m concerned, did nothing but make pharmaceutical companies and the hospitals wealthier. I will tell you from personal experience, when I had to go on the Affordable Care Act, I paid an astronomical amount. There should be universal health care.

“Nothing is going to change unless we change it — it’s not enough to just vote for another old white man.”

Brooke Solomon, 18, student
Detroit

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Who are you voting for?
Biden
How are you voting?
Drop-off or by mail

As a pre-med major, I’m very concerned about health care — it’s very crazy to me how we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, people are losing their jobs, losing their lives and losing loved ones and still nobody, neither the Democratic or the Republican Party, is campaigning on a platform of universal health care.
But the movement for Black lives is probably the most important to me. Everything intersects through that. The Black Lives Matter movement is against police brutality but the broader movement encompasses environmental justice, class discrimination, the Supreme Court.
The movements for Black lives over the years have been very patriarchal. I believe that all the beautiful intersections of Black womanhood, Black queer women, Black disabled women, poor Black women, holds everything together. Liberation for Black women, especially trans Black women, is liberation for all of us because when you’re at the bottom and you rise, everyone else rises. Even though Black women save democracies, we don’t get to be people in a lot of the ways that other people do. The Democratic Party commodifies Black women and uses us as selling points.
Honestly, the presidency doesn’t really affect my community. No one’s going to descend from the White House onto Detroit and fix all of our problems. Even with Mr. Biden, I see him as just another person to uphold the unjust system that we live in. Nothing is going to change unless we change it — it’s not enough to just vote for another old white man.

“Frankly, where I live, everybody’s fed up with politics as usual.”

Catherine Nettles, 57, unemployed
Anaconda, Mont.

Who are you voting for?
Trump
How are you voting?
In person, on Election Day

Fifteen years ago, I got sick with Crohn’s disease and couldn’t work, and I lost my health care because the health care was through my job. And then no doctor would help me. And I got sicker and sicker and was fighting for my life, and they said “Too bad, you don’t have insurance.”
I think America should give every person free health care. But I don’t think anyone is going to give America “Medicare for all.” They’ve been talking about this since Bill Clinton and it’s never going to happen. Trump has done as well as anybody could have done on health care. When I made the switch to support Trump, everybody was like: “Don’t do it, don’t do it. He’s going to take away your health care and your Social Security and your disability.” But he didn’t take any of those things away. I get just as much health care right now as I was getting before he was president.
I have voted Democratic at times. I voted for Obama. I have voted Republican. Sometimes I have to pick the lesser of the two evils because it just seems like there’s so much self interest in politics. Trump doesn’t talk like a career politician. Frankly, where I live, everybody’s fed up with politics as usual.
If I had a better choice, I would probably be making a different one. I would love to see a woman president. But I’m not going to vote for just anyone. I want the right woman.

“If we don’t focus on saving the environment, there will be no future for anybody.”

Sophie Zhou, 23, digital marketing agency employee
Based in New York now, but registered to vote in Atlanta

Who are you voting for?
Biden
How are you voting?
Mail in ballot

The biggest issues for me are climate change and women’s rights. The idea that Roe v. Wade could be overturned is absolutely terrifying, and I don’t know what the future would look like without it. And, if we don’t focus on saving the environment, there will be no future for anybody — it really just comes down to that.
My parents are very much the type to assimilate in society, saying, “If we’re good, if we’re the model minority, then white people will like us.” They don’t see racism as a monster we need to fight. They see it as an outcome of who you are. So I think it was actually valuable for me to be at home in Atlanta with my parents when the Black Lives Matter movement was at its height because it opened up a conversation. Asian-Americans have never been the type to really speak out, but now we have this opportunity to follow suit and to explain to our parents that the structure of the world is not what they think it is.

“I don’t necessarily vote for personality, but personally, I like Trump’s personality. I mean, he’s a New Yorker. He’s very blunt and to the point.”

Tangie Wooden, 48, senior training specialist
Ringgold, Ga.

Who are you voting for? Trump
How are you voting?
In person, on Election Day

My parents own their own business. Now they have not been affected by Covid as much as other small-business owners, but small-business owners don’t have the safety net that big corporations have. And when you close down the economy, you’re taking food off their table. You’re causing them to not be able to pay their mortgages. I think the economy has to be reopened.
I loved what Trump did on taxes, because it put more money in my paycheck. There was a lot of talk from the Democrats that his tax cut only affected the people that were making lots and lots of money. Well, I fall into the middle class and it affected my pocketbook.
Supreme Court justices are a pretty big issue for me. I am pro-life, and when I say pro-life, that means I don’t believe in abortion and I don’t believe in the death penalty. So I am pro-life across the board and I want constitutional judges, not ones that create policy. I want people that interpret the Constitution the way it was meant to be interpreted.
I don’t necessarily vote for personality, but personally, I like Trump’s personality. I mean, he’s a New Yorker. He’s very blunt and to the point. I’m a very blunt, to-the-point person. I want you to tell me the way it is. I don’t want you to sugarcoat something. Just give it to me straight.

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“As a housekeeper, I made about $31,000 a year. And I paid much more in taxes than him.”

Eddis Feliz, 51, housekeeper
Miami

Who are you voting for? Biden
How are you voting?
Mailed in ballot already

I came with my mother to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic 17 years ago. I was a housekeeper at a hotel in Miami Beach.
I have felt very sad over the course of the pandemic. It has impacted us working people very significantly. The administration left us behind. I lost my job at the hotel, and then I lost my health insurance. I have a co-worker friend who contracted the coronavirus and passed away. He had no health insurance.
Here in Florida, the unemployment system was chaos. Our weekly checks are for $240. Do you imagine that $240 is enough money to live on in a place that’s as expensive as Miami? I would prefer to be working rather than having to apply for unemployment. I never asked for any sort of government assistance since I’ve been here. So filling out the unemployment application was just terrible for me.
Donald Trump, from the beginning, has tried to go after immigrants, especially with the wall he’s building on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. I came to this country because I wanted to be able to provide more for myself and my daughter, as a single mother. As soon as I got here, I went to work and I’ve been able to create a good life. I think that’s the case for most immigrants. Trump has not been sympathetic to that.
As a housekeeper, I made about $31,000 a year. And I paid much more in taxes than him. If it’s true he only paid $750, that’s ridiculous.

“I just want to have a country back where you have two parties that respect each other.”

Alicia Palaez, 73, customs broker
Miami

Who are you voting for? Biden
How are you voting?
Dropping off ballot at drop-off box

I am a registered Republican, but in 2016, I voted for Hillary Clinton. I started changing my mind about voting Republican in the second Obama term — I voted for McCain the first time around. Ever since, I feel like my party left me, that there is no Republican Party anymore. Since Obama’s second term to now, we have just been running on hate.

There were a lot of Cubans who adored President Kennedy — but after the Bay of Pigs incident, we became Republicans. I came to the U.S. more or less in that era. I came here when I was 13 years old in Operation Peter Pan, the program where parents, who were afraid that the government was going to take their children, sent them here alone. I was an unaccompanied minor. My sister was too.

My siblings are voting for Trump. How can my sister now vote for this guy after seeing what has happened to all those minors who have been separated from their parents? My siblings were raised the same way I was. To me, it’s very upsetting.

I just want to have a country back where you have two parties that respect each other, you can talk to people, you can have ideas and that the government can work and pass laws.

“The most important issue for me is equality — whether that is Black Lives Matter, women, the L.G.B.T.Q. community — that everyone has a voice and that everyone is heard and represented.”

Cheryl Carstens, 49, curriculum developer
Madison Carstens, 19, student
Bloomington, Minn.

Who are you voting for?
Biden
How are you voting?
We’re voting in person since it’s Madison’s first presidential election.

Cheryl: I decided the minute that President Trump came into office, that whoever ran against him would be who I would be voting for. Over anything that he may have accomplished, I can’t get over his behavior. I can’t get over the things that he has said about minorities and different groups of people. I can’t be the type of person who can look at my 401(k) and say, “Hey, as long as my money is OK.” That just makes me angry.I was born in 1970, and that’s when women could start to get credit cards in their own name or loans or things like that, and that was really not that long ago. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a person who really worked on all of those things and now that she’s gone, we can’t just stop.The most important issue for me is equality — whether that is Black Lives Matter, women, the L.G.B.T.Q. community — that everyone has a voice and that everyone is heard and represented.
Madison: President Trump definitely made America more divided. My high school is predominantly white kids where it was kind of well known whether or not you were a Trump supporter, and it was well known that I was not. I got told that I was a feminazi, a snowflake or a libtard. I think that the president kind of created a safe space for people to say those things and for people to be racist or white supremacists.
The major issues for me are Black Lives Matter and supporting the L.G.B.T.Q. community. I just think that they really need our support and to know that we’re here for them and that we recognize there are racist systems in this country. Since we live in Minnesota, we have been around a ton of protests, but the protesting was necessary.

“I know that people on the left are upset by him, but generally speaking, Trump’s a lot of fun. He got people who were never involved in politics before to be engaged.”

Guzin Karides, 54, a retired attorney
Virginia Beach

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Who are you voting for?
Trump
How are you voting?
In person, on Election Day

I think people will be very sad when Trump is no longer president, whether that’s after this election or in four years. I know that people on the left are upset by him, but generally speaking, Trump’s a lot of fun. He got people who were never involved in politics before to be engaged.
To me, the economy is very important and I think it was doing great before all this happened. Pre-Covid, the 401(k)s were exploding. The stock market was doing great. Black poverty was down. Unemployment rates for minorities were down. I think all those things are very important to keep society happy. Considering what Trump has had to deal with, I think he did a pretty good job. There was the historic Middle East peace deal. That’s not something that just happened last month. That was years in the making, the Abraham Accords.
There are suburban women who are offended by Trump at times. And yes, he’s made mistakes. But my motto in life is: Every sinner has a future and every saint has a past, and it’s all about what direction you’re going in, you know?

“Wealth is not a bad thing, but we can’t have the whole country run based on policies that are good for just the wealthy.”

Celeste Morris, “old enough to have grown
children,” a semi-retired small business owner
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Who are you voting for?
Biden
How are you voting?
Voting early, in person

I can’t credit President Trump with any type of success either on our national level or in the world. Even under other Republican presidents, I think we had decency and some level of caring about the American people.

We want to know that the government is going to make policies that are good for the general population. We want to have leaders who care about our health and want to make sure that Americans are fed. We want to know that not everything hinges on what the wealthy and the corporations want. I mean, wealth is not a bad thing, but we can’t have the whole country run based on policies that are good for just the wealthy.

Everything always disproportionately affects Black and brown people, and Covid has highlighted that and put it on display.

With Joe Biden, the fact that he even says there’s climate change, instead of denying that there is a problem, is important. Whatever his plan is, at least he’s thinking about mitigating the problem. What kind of Earth are we leaving for our children and our grandchildren?

And choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate made me more committed to his ticket — having a Black woman as the vice president is something I just never even imagined would happen in my lifetime.

“I don’t care what Trump tweets. I do care that he’s bringing troops home. I do care about his tax reforms.”

Stephanie Watson, 76, retired,
previously worked for the school board
Cordell, Ga.

Who are you voting for?
Trump

How are you voting?
In person

I don’t care what Trump tweets. I do care that he’s bringing troops home. I do care about his tax reforms. I do care that he’s trying to stop that horrible Obamacare. I do care that he said he was going to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and he did. I do care that he’s going to build a wall.
Abortion is the least of my worries. I think Roe v. Wade is here, and I don’t think we can do anything about it. Anyway, I’m not going to have any more children so that’s not on my plate.
Violence might be the biggest issue. My bridge club, my Sunday school group, we all agree: We don’t want people burning down buildings. And I think it’s the most ridiculous thing in the world that you can protest, but you can’t go to church now.
One of the main reasons I voted for Trump last time was because of the Supreme Court. I want it to be traditionalist. I like what Scalia did. Now Trump is the president until somebody else has been sworn in. Just because it’s an election year, what does that have to do with his legal rights to appoint someone?

“Biden wholeheartedly understands that economic recovery has to start with women, and it has to start with working mothers.”

Simona Grace, 38, founder of
the progressive group Moms in Office
Los Angeles

Who are you voting for?
Biden
How are you voting?
By mail

Democracy is not something that’s guaranteed. I don’t care about foreign policy issues. I don’t care about trade. If Trump has done everything possible to undermine our democracy, then nothing else matters. Because that’s the No. 1 thing that will fall first.
I’m very harsh about Trump’s presidency because I’m raising a 10-year-old son. And for the past four years of his life, his memory of America is not the memory of America that I had. It’s not the idea of the country that I had when my family moved here from Hungary. I moved here when I was 18, not speaking English with no money to build a life for myself here.
As a single working mom, I call myself lucky that I’m able to live the life that I do because I had educational opportunities. But I should not have to call myself lucky. And other people in America should not have to call themselves lucky just because they want to put food on the table for their children and actually be at that table and enjoy that dinner with their children.
Biden released an economic package for women. His agenda proposes about $775 billion to help working families. He does include paid leave. And it does include universal free preschool and also some educational opportunities that would help working moms get a college education. I think he wholeheartedly understands that economic recovery has to start with women, and it has to start with working mothers.