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Some first-time voters choose to pass on the opportunity
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Not everyone is planning on voting this Tuesday.

Despite the historic nature of the 2008 presidential election, long lines, the candidates’ stances on the issues and not registering to vote are keeping many would-be first-time voters away from the polls.

Alex Camp, an 18-year-old Gainesville State College student from Gwinnett County, said he doesn’t want to stand in long lines on Tuesday, waiting to cast his vote. So instead, he’s opting out of voting this year.

“I’ve registered, but I’m hearing a bunch of people at school and some teachers have tried to vote early, and there’s been like five-hour waits,” he said. “And if you’re waiting five hours and you’re voting early, how is it going to be the day of voting?”

Camp agreed this year’s election has a lot of weight attached to it, but that simply isn’t enough to get out his vote.

“My viewing of it is, it’s a bigger election, but honestly it seems like people already know who’s going to win, and it doesn’t appeal to me,” he added.

Along with long lines — although elections officials contend polling precincts will be well-equipped to handle larger numbers of voters —some students simply haven’t made up their minds yet. And might not when Election Day rolls around.

Almedin Ajanovic, 18, said he likes both candidates.

“And I just, kind of having a debate, you know, which one to choose? You know, like which one should I go with and which one should I not go with?” he said, adding that the lines don’t bother him.

“This is going to be a historical one; if we can vote (Sen. John) McCain or (Sen. Barack) Obama, will it be the first African-American president or the first female vice president?”

Fellow Gainesville State College student Jackie Clark, 18, is also indecisive about the candidates, but in the opposite way.

“I don’t like either one of the candidate; I feel like I’m choosing between two evils,” she said. “If I did (vote) I’d most likely vote Republican, but it’s just really confusing to me on, like, what they want — both of them want two major things on opposite ends of the spectrum, and I don’t like either one of them, and I kind of want them to meet in the middle.”

While Clark said she probably will end up at the polls on Tuesday, she’ll keep her father’s words of wisdom in mind: “My dad says, you get what you vote for. America gets what they vote for,” she said. “If you vote for someone and they screw us over, then it’s our fault.”

Brian Drake, an assistant professor and Franklin postdoctoral fellow at the University of Georgia’s history department, had his own take on the idea of “you get what you vote for.” He cautioned students to not vote out of cynicism.

“I for one still have faith in the democratic process overall, whatever the limitations of most candidates,” he wrotein an e-mail. “In a democracy, as the saying goes, you get the government you deserve, and if you don’t vote then I think you bear some — not all, but some — responsibility for bad government.”

“Of course, you need not exercise every right you have, but voting seems like one that ought not be left to get dusty.”

Drake said he has a policy of keeping his political views to himself when in the classroom, so current political discussions rarely come up.

And while some students, like 18-year-old David Parchert, plan on braving the lines and touching that voting screen (“I’m going to try to probably get there around 6 o’clock in the morning ... there’ll be people pretty much like tailgating,” he said), there will always be voters, no matter what age, who just don’t care.

“Most of my friends, they don’t vote either,” said Paul Pickren, 19, of Homer. “I don’t really care either way.”

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