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The issues that matter most to voters on Election Day


It's Election Day in America, and millions are heading to the polls today.


Early voting numbers surpassed those from the last midterm in 2018. More than 45 million early votes were cast ahead of today. And after months of speculation about what will happen, this is the last chance for voters to have their say.

NADWORNY: NPR spoke to many casting their ballots across the country today to find out what's bringing them to the polls this midterm election. Life after Roe v. Wade is a top-of-mind issue for voters like Celeste Pendarvis in Atlanta, Ga.

CELESTE PENDARVIS: Definitely abortion rights and getting folks in office that will preserve that right.

SHAPIRO: The threat of recession and the reality of inflation are also motivating voters across the country, including Tom Donlin in Waltham, Mass.

TOM DONLIN: And the economy in general - you know, we're at the age we're dependent on our 401(k). And you certainly want the stock market to go back in the right direction. And I think that's all tied in with inflation and, you know, government policies to bring down prices on essentials and get the supply chain moving and keep it moving.

SHAPIRO: And guns continue to be a focus for voters, like Gladie Feliciano in Phoenix, Ariz.

GLADIE FELICIANO: We have a right to bear arms. I think that if somebody comes into our homes, that we should be able to protect ourselves in our own home. But outside of it, like, kids should be able to go to school safely, you know? And I think that there has to be something in place to be able to change.

NADWORNY: Also, student debt - Marvin Casasola in Waltham has over $100,000 in loans and says the Biden administration's current promise just isn't enough.

MARVIN CASASOLA: I'm one of those students that, you know - or was one of those students still in debt, hoping something can come out of that and that promise that he made when he was running for election. And now, only up to $20,000 cancellation - that's the interest on the capital for, like, a couple of years.

SHAPIRO: Jade Santiago in Tampa, Fla., says she's concerned about a number of social issues.

JADE SANTIAGO: Our current governor is attacking certain LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights, education rights. And I went in there keeping that in mind because I'm an education major, and I fear for my future as an educator.

NADWORNY: Voices from across the country sharing the issues that were central to how they cast their ballots today. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Erika Ryan
Erika Ryan is a producer for All Things Considered. She joined NPR after spending 4 years at CNN, where she worked for various shows and in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Ryan began her career in journalism as a print reporter covering arts and culture. She's a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and currently lives in Washington, D.C., with her dog, Millie.
Justine Kenin
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.
Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Elissa Nadworny reports on all things college for NPR, following big stories like unprecedented enrollment declines, college affordability, the student debt crisis and workforce training. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she traveled to dozens of campuses to document what it was like to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Her work has won several awards including a 2020 Gracie Award for a story about student parents in college, a 2018 James Beard Award for a story about the Chinese-American population in the Mississippi Delta and a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation.