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First Voters on Voting

saraSara: I’m going to vote, I’m going to stand for something in my country. I think for some people who don’t really think about it, it doesn’t really affect ‘em. They have 10 million other things going on in their life.

colbyColby: A lot of people I know would rather go hang out with their friends, listen to music, play videogames…because politics is boring. For me politics is a passion that I love.
gunnarGunnar: The last election was pretty devastating for the voting turnout. I mean that’s kind of devastating for first time voters to be like, "Oh well, my vote really didn’t count."
jillianJillian: People just don’t realize that you know every vote does count. I talked to a lot of my friends. They’re like "Oh, you know I’m not going to vote because you know I really don’t, I don’t know anything."
karenKaren: Educating myself with political issues is really difficult. First of all it’s not super, super engaging material for me. I can’t justify reading the articles when I should be studying anatomy and physiology.
Colby: I spent just hours trying to get places to get information, trying to get past all the stuff at these newspapers to get to the political stuff and it takes a long time. I personally think that at least in high school or in, or in college they should require you to take a class on politics.
davidDavid: When I finally found where I could find the issues it was 96 pages long of just pointless reading. If we had something to educate people on the politics they’d realize there’s a whole lot of stuff that is actually fun in…learning how to run our government.
jackelineJackeline: It’s going to take a long time for you to catch up with the news if you haven’t done it, but once you start doing it…,if you watch it like at least twice a week you’re going to be up to date.
mikalMikal: I think one of the problems is that so many of the issues aren’t directed towards us based on where we come from money-wise. More of the issues are directed to the upper class and the working class people. We feel like it’s a whole different world.
Jackeline: Most of our parents still take care of us, so we don’t see the economic problems yet and we don’t have families and we’re in pretty good health.
karissaKarissa: I know that the issues are going to affect us, but we don’t see the immediate results now. So I think that’s why the youths of America just says "Hey I don’t feel like voting; I’m not going to do it."
Karen: (It’s) a result of our apathy, of our unwillingness to exert ourselves on issues, that politicians don’t focus more on us. We don’t vote, we don’t voice our opinions and we don’t say, "Medicare matters to me because I’m going to be paying for it," or "This war matters to me because my family is going there."
maryamMaryam: One of the reasons I want to vote is because I want to have my voice heard…my grandpa says that if you vote you have the right to complain, if you don’t vote, just sit down and shut up, don’t complain about it.
israelIsrael: I think the youth don’t vote because they’re treated like idiots. With the whole "Rock the Vote" thing they got like, they got rock stars, who really they didn’t use big words, they didn’t say anything intelligent.
kentKent: At the local level there’s some really stupid people running things. And if you make students go and see who’s controlling local politics it makes them start thinking, "Hey, there’s some interesting stuff going on."
Jillian: You need to go and talk to your parents or talk to your friends, you know, "What’s your view on this?" And maybe that helps you mold your view a little bit and I think that’s something that everyone ought to do.
Colby: When you’re talking about the young kids like us, they’ll get the one side and then they’ll be like, "Oh that’s all there is to it." They won’t go and look, "Well John Kerry’s saying this, George Bush is saying this, which do I think is better?" They just take what their parents say.
Gunnar: That’s why that broad-based liberal arts education is important because you’re out of the home and you can make decisions for yourself.
Karen: If they got to the polls and they vote then maybe they’ll be inspired to educate themselves in the future, they’ll be like, "Oh, this is how it works, so maybe now I should understand what’s going on," or "This is who I voted for; look what happened, now I’m actually concerned about what’s going on."
Gunnar: We all have to ask ourselves what’s going to be important to us in four years. It’s really important because you know this we’re first time voters and this is our first election and you have to really ask yourself…who, where do I want to be, and what do I want to be in four years?

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