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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Fresh voices: Students appreciate right to vote

Monday, November 3, 2008

Central High School seniors, from left, Josh Wade, Breeann Allen, Karen Hix and Daniel Brown are voting for the first time in this presidential election. All took advantage of the early voting period.
(T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler)
Four Central High School seniors, all 18, won't be going to the polls Tuesday morning.

That's because Josh Wade, Breeann Allen, Daniel Brown and Karen Hix decided to partake in early voting.

"I registered to vote at Bonnaroo this year," said Josh, who cast his vote recently for Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama. "I decided to vote early because it seemed a lot easier."

While the four honors students might not all favor the same candidate, or care about the same issues, one thing they do all have in common is their realization of the importance of voting.

"Voting is a fundamental right that so many people have died, over centuries, to protect," said Brown, a John McCain supporter. "It is your voice."

Daniel Brown

Daniel watched all three presidential debates before making his final decision to vote for McCain.

"For me, it was about choosing the lesser of two evils," he said.

Ultimately, Brown chose McCain because he likes his policy on the funding of alternative and renewable energies. His experience is also a plus.

Daniel feels like his political views have mostly been influenced by himself.

"My family is still on the fence," he said. "I've always liked history, and I enjoy learning and reading about history and politics."

Like many Americans, he says he's excited to see the results come in Tuesday night.

"It's all very nerve-wracking," he said.

Breeann Allen

Breeann, an Obama supporter, says she was surprised when she learned Obama was running for president.

"I knew he was a senator," she said. "I had seen him on Oprah, but I was surprised because no one besides Caucasian men has ever made it this far."

Breeann says, for her, the most important issues surrounding this election are the war, the economy and the health care crisis.

"The banks failing and the economic crisis concerns me because people can't live on what they're making."

She also believes that each and every person is entitled to health care.

"More tax dollars should go toward health care, as opposed to national defense," she said. "My head will probably be chopped at the slaughter for saying that, but it's how I feel."

Breeann says she made an informed decision about voting for Obama based on the debates she watched.

"I influenced myself; my family never told me who to vote for," she said. "I thought, 'I'm getting ready to vote for my first time and I want it to count.' It bothers me when I turn on the news and find out what's wrong with each candidate. I don't care about the gossip, and I don't care about Sarah Palin's wardrobe. I want to learn what they're going to do for me, and other kids, and how they're going to help our futures."

As Election Day draws near, Breeann hopes people, no matter what candidate they're for, turn out in droves.

"When people go to the polls, they need to think about what's best for them, their families and friends," she said. "If you don't like the way things are going you can change it with your vote ... They're here working for us, and we need to make them work hard to make our country a stronger nation."

Karen Hix

Karen was very excited upon visiting the courthouse to cast her vote early, for the very first time.

"I went with my parents," she said. "I was nervous because I didn't know how to use the booth, but it turned out to be easy."

She says she feels lucky to be able to vote in this election, unlike many of her fellow students, who are not yet 18.

"Students are very interested in the election, especially the juniors and seniors, but we have a very young class so there's not many of us who can vote."

Karen is in favor of McCain, mainly because he doesn't want to raise taxes, she said.

"And I don't like Obama's idea of socialized medicine," she said. "I don't think we should have to pay for those who don't work."

Regarding health care, Karen feels like a portion of a person's tax dollars should go into an account to fund that particular person's health care needs.

The oil industry, and gas prices, are also a concern for Karen, and having Palin on the ticket was a comfort regarding this issue.

"Gas prices are going down, and I think drilling in Alaska could help our gas crisis," she said. "And as far as Sarah Palin, I think it's time for a woman ... She has shown a lot of herself."

Another comfort to Karen is McCain's experience.

"He's gone through what the soldiers are going through, and he knows how to work the forces."

Karen says she was on the fence for a while, and considers herself an independent.

"I watched all the debates but the last one, and just waited to see which one I liked the best."

She says watching the news also influenced her decision.

"My parents are both democrats, but they're voting for McCain," laughed Karen. "They didn't influence my decision. If anything, I think I influenced their decision."

Josh Wade

Josh Wade also considers himself more independent, but he's in favor of Obama. Like Breeann, he remembers first seeing Obama on Oprah.

"I am for Obama, and not just because he's a Democrat," said Josh, who admits his family mostly leans toward the right. "I think he has a good head on his shoulders."

Josh says one person who has influenced his political views is his grandfather.

"My grandfather on my mom's side is liberal," he said. "He's a great man, and I could relate to him."

For Josh, like some of his fellow students, issues such as the war and the economy matter most, but he believes Obama has the leadership ability to better the United States.

While none of the other students mentioned race, Josh said he feels that race is an issue in this election.

"I think some Republicans have a hard time with his race and religion," Wade said. "People are afraid of things that are new, but after a while they become accustomed to the new things and realize it wasn't wrong."

He's hoping that will be the case with Obama.

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