November 2 was a historic day for many of America’s youth asthey eagerly anticipated their chance to vote. However, forsome it was not all smooth sailings.
Hundreds of Howard University students linedup at Gage Eckington Elementary School in NW Washington, D.C. tovote using special ballot cards, having not received officialabsentee ballots from their home states. Anthony Miller ofFontana, CA a sophomore said, “I didn’t receive myvoter registration card. I applied one week before thedeadline. I procrastinated, but I registered.”
Further explaining his willingness to use thespecial ballot he said
“I’m not a die-hard supporter ofeither candidate, but my vote must be counted.” Millerdescribed his choice for president by saying, “Using theprocess of elimination I’ll go with the lesser of twoevils. I’ll vote for Kerry for obviousreasons.”
Britteney Johnson’s experience wassimilar to that of Miller’s. The Howard Universityjunior from Charlotte, NC said, “I’ve applied severaltimes on campus and I didn’t receive a ballot. However,it is important to cast my vote and I won’t let thissituation stop me.” This was the first presidentialelection that Johnson was able to participate in being she wasunderage during the 2000 presidential elections.
Johnson is excited to see youth votersparticipating in the elections, but she was concerned with the waypeople were choosing their candidate.
“I think so many people are readyto rid of Bush, but Kerry might not be the best candidate. Heconstantly explained his plan for change, but he could have done abetter job in showing us exactly what it was and how it wouldwork.” Johnson’s biggest fear was that Bush wouldwin, Kerry would take office and there would be little progress inreference to the war.
Danielle King, a native of the Bronx, NY wasskeptical about not receiving her ballot, but the electionsoverall. “I think there will be drama around thiselection. If John Kerry wins more than likely there will bean appeal.”
Khalila Jenkins of New York applied for aballot nearly 10 times. Uncertain of the results, she wascomfortable knowing that she would still be allowed to vote.
Some students however, did receive absenteeballots. Philadelphia, PA native George Gray said
“I voted absentee about two weeksago.” “Its disheartening, but I couldn’tafford to go home. It’s better than not voting atall.”
Aaron Bonner of Cincinnati, OH returned hisballot the day he received it. “I don’t feel asif my vote will actually count, but it was still important for meto send it in.”