DecodeDC is following four undecided voters as part of “Voters on the Fence,” a series of stories about people who are struggling to make a decision about which presidential candidate is right for them.
With a week left until Election Day, all four of of DecodeDC’s “Voters on the Fence” have made up their mind: One will vote for Trump, one Clinton, one Gary Johnson and another will abstain.
But they all had two things in common. They are conflicted about their decisions and they aren’t excited about the election.
“I’m just un-satisfied with the way it’s all turned out. But it is what it is. I think that the whole system is kind of, I don’t know, I don’t necessarily like the way we vote anymore,” said Emily Werff, 38, of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Werff has gone back and forth in the past month between preferring Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson to strongly leaning towards Democrat Hillary Clinton to ultimately deciding to go back to Johnson on Election Day. But her decision hasn’t come easily. She said “reopening” the FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails bothers her, and she said she hates Trump’s temperament. She also is aware of how low Johnson is in the polls.
“God it’s like I don’t even know that that’s even worth it … but that’s how I think I’ll end up voting,” she said of her decision to vote for Johnson. She said she would be shocked but pleasantly surprised if he won on Election Day.
The idea of voting on Nov. 8 doesn’t drum up any excitement for Deb Morrison, 56, of Vevay, Ind., either. She has been on the fence the entire political season.
“Disheartened. I feel frustrated that we don’t have better options,” she said. “It’s a privilege and it’s a responsibility to vote, and I think my thought process will be that more than anything I’m sending those in Washington a message that I’ve had enough. I’m tired of all of those backdoor deals. And again it’s bipartisan, I’m not a Republican, I’m not a Democrat, and I know it goes on at the local level.”
She said she is going to back Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“I was asked if I’m a voting for Trump, or against Hillary. And I have to say it’s more against Hillary,” she said.
Morrison said she’s not a huge fan of Trump and hates his temperament but that the recent re-opening of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s State Department emails “just feels to me like the Clintons are almost political mafia.”
“She’s been there for 30 years, she’s done some good things, however she’s been part of this system. I think that’s more of what I’m voting against,” Morrison said of Clinton. “If I had my way, every incumbent would be thrown out. All of that kind of went into my thought process; for better or worse Trump isn’t part of that.”
Alon Sendowski, 27, from Prince Georges County, Md., is so disgusted by the candidate options he’s still considering not voting on Election Day. It’s a decision he would be fine with, and he said it’s one many of his friends also have made.
But if he were to vote, Sendowski said he thinks it would be for Trump after hearing that the FBI is looking into Clinton’s emails again.
“An ongoing criminal investigation is just a deal breaker for me,” he said. “You know, like yeah, Donald Trump said some really lewd and terrible things about women which disgusted me, but it’s different. He didn’t do anything illegal, you know. He just was trying to, I guess, be macho with some random guy before he went on a soap opera. … But a criminal investigation by the FBI, that’s like, that’s massive. I don’t know how much worse it can really get.”
Come Election Day he said he’s not worried who will end up winning, because he retains some faith in the three branches of government.
“I trust our governmental system that we have the checks and balances in place. And I mean c’mon, if we think one person can actually destroy everything, then we’re a lot more vulnerable than we think,” he said. “I’m thinking I might vote and give it a shot and see what happens. I mean if [Trump] sucks, he’ll be gone in four years.”
Margaret Deluca, 56, of Lakewood, Colo., committed to Clinton pretty early on in the past month and hasn’t changed her mind. She plans to vote for the former Secretary of State on Tuesday, saying that “the more I learn, the more I know I’m making the right decision.”
She agreed that the email news about Clinton sounded like serious business but said it wasn’t enough to sway her vote, especially compared to Trump as an alternative.
“I don’t think he has the temperament or professionalism to lead this country. I think he would get us into WWIII,” she said.
Nevertheless, she, like the other three, isn’t particularly looking forward to voting and as she watches the results roll in, she says she’ll mostly just be ready for it to all be over.
“Oh, it’s resignation. I think Hillary’s going to get it. If Donald Trump got it, I guess I’d be pretty horrified,” Deluca said. “Bottom line is Hillary won’t bring enough change and Donald Trump would bring too much. And that’s exactly why I won’t be jumping up and down.”