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Election nears, young vote crucial

Sept. 13, 1996

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, 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 younger voters, with both the Democrats and the 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 from government.'

The Edwards' campaign and the Democratic headquarters said they have not pushed the young to get involved in politics because they believe their record on education is the most relevant issue to the demographic.

'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 that education was an important issue and said if this generation looks at the policies of the candidates, they would make the best decision. '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, the Republicans 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,' said Chris Jackson, a Bakersfield, Calif., junior.

However, he said he was discontented with both candidates.

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

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