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Youth vote crucial, campaigners says

Sept. 24, 1996

Youth vote crucial, campaigners say

By Kate Chester

Lariat Reporter

With the November elections nearing, speculation grows on the younger generation's ability to 'sway' the vote toward either Bob Dole or Bill Clinton.

In the 1992 presidential election, there was a 42.8 percent turnout for the younger generation, up from the all-time low of 36.2 in the 1988 elections, Therese Heliczer reported for Link.

'A larger percentage of the younger generation voted than in the past 20 years,' said Matt Miller, press secretary for Democratic representative Chet Edwards' campaign.

'We expect young people to have an even higher turnout than the last election year,' Miller said. 'They have historically lagged behind.'

This year promises to have a high turnout of young voters, with both the Democrats and Republicans vying for their support.

'The younger vote is critical, and dramatically influential,' said Chad Cantella, campaign manager for Edwards' Republican contestant, Jay Mathis. 'They can, have and will, in this race, effect the outcome.'

Both John Cullar, a worker in the Democratic headquarters in Waco, and M.A. Taylor, the Republican chair from McLennan County, said the younger generations' interest in the political process is important to the election results.

'Ultimately, the political process will belong to the younger generations,' Taylor said. 'We welcome them to the process to learn what they want for government.'

'The younger generation is important to Waco, because it's considered a college town,' Miller said. 'Younger voters should feel threatened by Congress cutting Pell grants and college loans. Education is something Chet has worked hard for since he was in the State Senate.' Miller said.

Cullar said he agreed education was an important issue. 'Clinton is for a good education, which is the basis for a good job,' Cullar said. 'They will be benefited by the Democratic Party and Clinton.'

Unlike the Democrats, Republicans have said they are relying on current political discontent with 'liberalism' and big government to win the younger vote.

'Younger voters, much like the entire electorate, all have had enough of liberal government,' Cantella said. 'It's time to rein in government; time to shrink it. The younger voters are excited about the outcome.'

Some students said they understand the importance of voting in November.

'This is the first presidential election I am able to vote in, and I will most definitely voice my opinion,' Chris Jackson, a Bakersfield, Calif., junior, said.

However, he said he was discontented with both candidates.

'I think we will be voting for the 'lesser of two evils' in November,' Jackson said.

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