Many University students to vote for first time Tuesday

Brady Averill

Since their first day at the University in 2002, students Laina Farmer and Celeste Hawker have been roommates who got along – except when it came to politics.

Despite the scowls they tossed at each other while talking about their favorite candidates, they said they’ll put their differences aside and go vote together.

“It’s more of a agree-to-disagree subject now,” said Farmer, a Democrat who is supporting Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.

On Election Day, the two will join thousands of University students in voting for the presidency for the first time.

Both 20 years old, Hawker, a President George W. Bush supporter, and Farmer declined to vote in the 2002 election because they said their votes would cancel each other out. But this year, they said, they realize how critical their votes are.

Together, they watched the debates. They also said they researched candidates online.

It’s important to do some research or know about whom you are voting for, Farmer said.

“You could unknowingly be voting for things that are against what you’re interested in,” she said.

Farmer said she’ll vote on issues. Hawker said she will vote along her family’s party line.

The two sometimes fight about their dissenting opinions, they said.

“We argue about it back and forth all the time,” Farmer said.

But more recently, they stopped arguing as much, she said.

Other students have already voted by absentee ballot.

Junior Lyle Deepe said he mailed in his absentee ballot earlier this week.

“It was kinda cool,” he said.

It was the first time he could vote in a presidential election, and he said he looked forward to the day.

“I’d been looking forward to it for a while – ever since I was a little kid,” he said.

The North Carolina native said he was prepared to vote in his first election.

“I’d say I’m fairly knowledgeable politically,” he said.

Depee said he voted both along his party line and for candidates he likes.

He already knew about the candidates back home, so he left his research to the presidential candidates, he said.

Depee said he watched the debates and attended Kerry’s campaign stop last week in Minneapolis.

First-year students Angela Damiani, Elizabeth Poehlmann and Gretchen Faile mailed their absentee ballots to Wisconsin last week.

They live next door to one another in a residence hall and, they said, they planned the mail-in.

They said they were excited about voting for a president for the first time and were looking forward to election night.

“I’ll be excited to find out (who wins),” Faile said.