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UW-Rock students consider Election Day choices

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Catherine W. Idzerda
November 2, 2010
— Pollsters often talk about the "youth vote," as though young people were a monolithic block of shared opinions and habits.

But what about young people who are occupational therapists/rappers?


Or nursing students?


Or those studying business?


A short and extremely unscientific survey of students at UW-Rock County on Monday showed most young people planned to go to the polls. Their reasons for voting were as varied as "it's the right thing to do" to "it's kinda neat" and "I'm worried about the economy."


Sarah Warner, 18, a business major from the Delavan-Darien area, planned to vote for the first time today.


"It's the economy," Warner said. "What are they going to do to improve the economy?"


Her friend Morgan Williams, who also is from the Delavan-Darien area, was disgusted that as a 17-year-old she would miss being able to vote by a mere two days. She, too, is worried about the economy.


When asked how they would make their election picks, neither seemed seriously attached to a political party.


"It depends on who's running," Warner said.


On a patio outside the main entrance to the college, a group of young women was recovering from an anatomy exam while their friend Ross Reid, 19, did simultaneous battle with a bee and a McDonald's fish sandwich.


Haley Christianson, 19, Brodhead, is a second-year nursing student who recently was accepted into the Saint Anthony College of Nursing at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill.


She's voting because she can and because she wants too.


"The economy and health care are the big issues," Christianson said.


She'll probably vote the same way her parents do: Democratic.


Reid, who scared the bee away by flailing at it with a notebook, first said he wasn't sure he was going to vote. He had just moved to Brodhead from Juda and he didn't know where his polling place was.


"What township are you in?" Christianson asked.


He didn't know.


Sara Phillips, 19, a second-year nursing student from Allen's Grove, said she was voting for the first time.


She plans to continue at UW-Rock County through a collaborative program with Blackhawk Technical College and UW-Oshkosh.


Like other young people, she's concerned about the economy, but she said she'll probably vote Democratic, like her parents do.


And like her parents, she is tired of the endless political advertising.


By then, Reid had decided that he was "pretty sure" he was going to vote.


Reid, a well-scrubbed young man with a crew cut, is studying to be an occupational therapist. Reid, aka "Lil' Rossie," also plans to pursue a parallel career as a rapper—or so he says.


What were his issues, outside of the difficulty of finding rhymes for "therapist" and "work-related injuries"?


"Having a better plan for the economy and health care," Reid announced, as though he'd been considering his response for 30 days instead of 30 seconds.


Phillips gave him a look and said, "You sound like a commercial."



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