By Meghan Riding
Voting is a gut reaction for some, but for others issues are important.
“When I go to vote, issues are the most important factor, but I also look at the candidate’s personality. Sometimes, though, it is my gut feeling,” said Molly Hart, 21, a senior from Monroe, La., majoring in theater studies.
When students go to the election booths Nov. 7, there will be many factors to consider before casting a vote.
Political science professor Byron Daynes, who teaches a class on the U.S. presidency, said students do not vote in high numbers, but there are a few factors that influence the voting decision.
Daynes said a major contribution to a person’s voting is the issues in the campaign.
“If a particular issue hits them directly more than an obscure issue, they will be more likely to vote,” he said.
Melissa Larson, 24, a second year graduate student in theatre from Provo, said when she votes she is not voting for a candidate but for a certain view on the issues.
“It’s the issues that are important,” Larson said. “Our leaders are responsible for the betterment of our society. When you vote, you vote not necessarily for the person, but what they stand for.”
Daynes said voters usually need an issue to be identified with a candidate.
“I vote on issues because if candidates support the issues that are important to me I know I can count on them to get my needs met,” said Manju Varghese, 21, a senior from Potamic, Md., majoring in film.
Another factor that determines how a person votes is if they view themselves as conservatives or liberals, Daynes said. This sometimes translates into voting with the party a person is registered in.
Angie Tanner, 19, a sophomore from Bountiful, majoring in accounting, said she looks at issues the most, but she is biased towards her party.
Erin Hart, 20, a junior from Clovis, Calif., majoring in art history, said she usually ends up voting for her party because the platform is consistent with the view on issues she values.
Melissa Domeyer, 19, a junior from Oroville, Calif., majoring in math, disagrees.
“I’m not into the parties because they are really similar,” Domeyer said. “Their platforms are interchangeable.”
There are other things that factor into a person’s vote, Daynes said. Family influence plays a major role.
“When people vote, they are either voting along with their family or it is a rebellion against their family,” Daynes said.
Although it depends on the election, the candidate’s personality and presentation should be appealing to win votes, Daynes said.
“They should be appealing, especially on TV because it’s the main medium of communication,” he said.
The integrity of a candidate, along with their views on issues, is important, said Tim Skousen, 25, a senior from Winter Park, Fla., majoring in film.
Daynes said because the presidential race is extremely close this year, there is a good chance for a higher voter turn out.
Under 50 percent of the adult population voted in the U.S. in 1996, according to the Federal Elections Commission Web site. The voting turn-out rate for college aged voters in 1996 was under 35 percent.
Daynes said he hopes the public will consider all aspects of the issues and the candidates.
“The public is smarter and will judge the race on the candidates entirety,” Daynes said.