Students participate in elections

October 17, 2008 — by Robin Liu and Tiffany Tseng

As Election Day approaches, people are finalizing their decisions on which presidential candidate they will be supporting on Nov. 4. Over the past few months, people have been following Barack Obama and John McCain closer than ever, tuning in to all debates and watching every interview.

Several lucky students this year who have already turned 18 will be able to have a direct say in the elections. Senior Lauren Christensen will have this opportunity.

“I think this is an important election,” said Christensen. “It’s cool because I’m the only one of my friends who has this chance to vote.”

With stress from school and extracurricular activities, Christensen is planning to vote through the absentee ballot to save time. She will be basing her vote on the main issues, such as where taxes are going, the abortion conflict and problems concerning health insurance.

Although Christensen has not had the time to fully research each candidate’s stances and make a decision, she has viewed the propositions and feels fairly strongly against Proposition 8, which if passed will ban gay marriages.

“I think all people should have the same rights,” said Christensen. “[For example,] I don’t feel that their access in hospitals should be restricted when their [partners] are sick. They should have a say.”

Senior Hana Pruzansky, also registered to vote, is looking into the candidates’ different strategies of solving the economic crisis.

“I think both candidates are the best that we can have, and they have equally effective ways of dealing with the economy,” said Pruzansky. “It’s more of distinguishing who is less good compared to the other.”

Because Pruzansky does not feel that picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a running mate was a good choice, she believes that she will be casting her ballot for Obama.

Both Pruzansky and Christensen agree that they are excited to participate in such an important and controversial election.

Those who do not have the opportunity to vote are looking for other ways to take part in the process. U.S. Government teacher Kirk Abe is offering his class extra credit for working at the polls on Election Day. Because she is not yet eligible to vote, senior Melissa Ozaslan is taking this opportunity to get more involved in the election.

“Mr. Abe said that it would be a good experience,” said Ozaslan. “I really wanted to work there since I can’t vote this year, and I thought that I could get active this way.”

Ozaslan hopes that by volunteering, she will be able to gain a deeper insight of the process as a whole.

“I hope to learn more about voting so that when I can vote, I’ll know what to do and know about the issues that people are concerned about,” said Ozaslan.

Abe has also held an election simulation in his U.S. Government class over the past couple weeks. There are three presidential candidates in each class, and each has a campaign group to represent the Democratic, Republican and Independent parties. The rest of the students represent the “battleground states” that have the potential to be swayed either way.

“Students make campaign ads, travel to states and decide how to spend their money,” said Abe. “This way they can learn about the elections process not just through what they read or watch on the news, but through an actual campaigning simulation that they run.”

Citizen Representatives (CRs) from each of the represented states follow a strict guideline on who they support and how their state can be influenced through ads or speeches from the candidates. At the end of seven campaign days, the CRs will cast their vote on Nov. 3.

Similarly, students in U.S. Government teacher Margarita Lozano’s class will be learning about the 12 different propositions by performing skits on them.

“Many people don’t realize that the propositions are also an important part of the elections,” said senior Paulina Tsai. “Acting them out makes them seem more realistic than just reading about them in the proposition books.”

2 views this week