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Young people: Choosing no party or third parties

Many young voters not picking political parties
By KEVIN HAAS
GateHouse News Service
Posted Oct 19, 2008 @ 01:14 AM

Although a record number of young people is expected to vote in the upcoming election, they’re not necessarily choosing sides.

“There are so many things wrong with the Republicans and Democrats that, picking a party, I couldn’t even fathom picking a party,” said Chad Stenberg, a 24-year-old teacher from Rockford.

That was the overwhelming message heard during a two-day tour last week of three Illinois cities — Rockford, DeKalb and Normal — to find out what’s important to young voters and why…

In many cases, young voters are frustrated with the status quo and happy to pick a candidate from the main parties, like Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain.

Others have lined up other options.

Jessie Grahn, 27, a student at Rockford College, is leaning toward Obama or Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney.

“When the two parties are pretty much the same party, it’s a bad thing,” Grahn said. “You’re basically saying, ‘I want a green apple or a red apple instead of an apple or an orange.’ If you don’t want apples, you’re kind of stuck.”

Experts say younger voters tend to lean to the left, and Stefan Michalow, an 18-year-old from Bourbonnais attending Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, attests to that.

“Sometimes I scare my parents with my political beliefs,” he said. “I’m too left-wing, they say.”…

War and peace

Andrew Maynard and Caitlin Boyer, a pair of 19-year-old Rock Valley College students in Rockford, aren’t siding with Obama, who has made “change” his slogan, or McCain.

Maynard, of Loves Park, who wore an American-flag-patterned peace sign on his shirt, said ending the war in Iraq is the election’s biggest issue. Boyer, who has attended anti-war rallies in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, agrees.

Fed up with both Democrats and Republicans, Maynard says he’ll likely vote for the Green Party…

Surfing the Web

…Isaac Ellis of Rockford said he’ll use the Web to make sure his candidate follows through on campaign promises…

Kevin Haas can be reached at (815) 544-3452.
Copyright © 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.

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