Name: Charles Fiegl Age: 23 Location: Williamsville Occupation: reporter
1. I think that there are issues every year that young voters are interested in, such as health care and jobs, especially when coming out of school. This year, younger people may be more interested in it because the economy is not as good as it’s been in the mid- to late-’90s even though it’s showing some signs of recovery. There are some people upset with the current president’s decisions on the war and etc., but then there is the other side that feels safer than they did after Sept. 11 with the programs that the administration has been responsible for. I think that, with any presidential election, you’ll see more voters at the polls than during smaller elections.
2. I don’t know. I think that there are a lot of young people in America who don’t exercise their right to vote, and it is discouraging. Younger people should vote more often and come out in droves this election.
3. Who knows? Some people get turned off by campaign ads and constant bickering and won’t care to vote for either of the party candidates. Voter apathy. I’m sure that some people will vote for Nader even though he’s running as an independent, and it’s not guaranteed that he’ll be on every ballot in every state unless he gets signatures, which requires a lot of money. Who knows if his impact will be as big?
Name: Kenny Kwarciany Age: 21 Location: Buffalo Occupation: full-time student
1. Yeah. Everyone is sick of Bush and will do anything to get rid of him.
2. Yeah. Refer to question no. 1.
3. I think that more young people will vote. Whoever I have talk to is going to vote, but I hate Kerry, and we’re screwed, no matter what. No comment on Ralph Nader.
Name: Jeffrey Bettinger Age: 26 Location: University Heights Occupation: student
1. Yes, but not enough. Because when you try to strike up a conversation with a random stranger, they have an opinion, unlike in years past, but they’re not doing anything about it. There’s not enough activism. They’re not watching news and not reading enough because television is too biased. Eighty-five percent of the news comes from too few sources, promoting corporations, globalization, and tax cuts.
2. No. I think that young people might lean toward the left but that doesn’t make them a Democrat. The Democratic Party is by no means the radical party that it was years ago. It’s almost the same as the Republican Party.
3. Minimal impact. A lot of people are still frustrated and have already decided who’s going to win, and they feel that their vote is meaningless. It’s good in theory but difficult in practice; it’s good to promote change, but people tend to slack off. And Ralph Nader — unfortunately he doesn’t have the means to reach as many people. He’s the only consistent politician, a consumer advocate, not a part of the corporations masquerading as human beings.
Name: Tim LaChuisa Age: 22 Location: Amherst Occupation: full-time student
1. I would like to think that they are more interested in it this year, but I think realistically. I think that it is probably pretty comparable to the last election (pretty low interest).
2. No, I just generally don't see young people's attitudes changing into being more political or interested in politics.
3. I think that if young people actually got out and voted, it can have a huge impact in the election. Looking at the last election, for example, if more young people got out and voted, we would probably have a different president today. So they do have the possibility of being a large impact in any election, but the problem is somehow motivating young people to vote.
Name: Kevin Hibbard Age: 23 Location: West Seneca Occupation: art teacher
1. Yes, because people realize what a difference having the right president makes. They’re concerned about Bush being in office or not.
2. No. I think that young people aren’t as active as they should be in politics.
3. I would see more support for the Democratic candidate, but I’m uncertain of victory. I don’t think that Nader will be a factor this year. Enough people learned how much it affected it. I’m hoping that Kerry will win, but I’m not really certain. It all depends how things play out with the rumors of Bin Laden’s capture. That may sway a lot of people. interest has sparked among what could be America’s biggest voting pool—youth.
By Nicole Schuman
This year is completely different from 2000. The American populace has experienced great change on social, cultural, political, and economic scales. As they confront issues such as cloning, talk of the draft, gay marriage, harnessing free speech and personal privacy rights, sending our buddies to die in a possibly useless war, and watching our backyard go under attack, young people have had to grow up fast and face a bombardment of life-changing events. Values have been questioned, and anger has been felt. Health care and the economy are not issues that concern only the middle aged and elderly. Recent graduates are some of the most debt-ridden in our nation’s entire history. So what are young people going to do about it? Do they believe that their voice will be heard? Do they believe voting can make a difference?