First Time Voters Sound Off

The presidential election is less than 4 weeks away. In the height of the political season, the public often sees a large response from older voters, but what about the young voters?
Recent polls show the younger voter will have a major impact this year. What's on their mind?
Four young, East Texans, gathered for a roundtable, to share their opinions and concerns with KLTV.

Now 18, Greg, Brenna, Russell and Julia will vote for the first time, participating in a race to name the next leader of the country.

Q: If the election were held today, who would you vote for?

Greg: Oh Bush/Cheney, easy.

Brenna: George Bush.

Russell: I haven't really established who I want to vote for yet. I think there's still a lot of elements that need to be determined.

Julia: I'm voting for Bush and Cheney.

 Q: What issue do you as young people think is not being explored right now? 

Greg: I hear a lot of people talking about education. I think that's something young people think about, but it's not catching much attention.

Julia: I think that the issue about immigration is a big thing right now. It's been talked a lot about by the two candidates but I believe teenagers need to be more aware of that thing, immigration.

Q: A big issue this election is the war with Iraq. How important do you think it is to your generation?

Greg: I support the war in Iraq,  I do. Yes it is a tragedy that we've lost so many lives but when you think about it, you think about 9/11, how many lost loved ones there, how many people lost loved ones in the pentagon. You've got to fight for something why not be freedom?

Brenna: I think the war is very important in the election....Obviously I support George Bush that our troops need to be over there.

Russell: I think the war in Iraq, I think America may have been decieved by some of the facts. I don't know if Bush, Bush and Tony Blair they were both very sincere when they gave it to us, but they gave us false information and they didn't investigate any further into that information and that's irresponsible on a leaders part.

Julia: To me the word war, means two things: It means terror, it means freedom. It means terror because war is always a bad thing a thing a human can do, but on this occassion, the war is to be free of the terrorism.

Q: What concerns do you have for the country when you are 40 or 50 years old?

Greg: What am I concerned about? How am I going to retire? We see it getting taken out of our checks, social security and things like that. We all know it's going to expire.

Brenna: We talked about like gay marriages and other controversial issues like that being a big deal because to me that's the world getting worse. That's like accepting more things that used to not be accepted and as I get older and have children they are going to accept more things.

Russell: I think also energy because fossil fuels are running out. We need to develop certain energy, alternate sources of energy that are not fossil fuels, that are renewable.

Julia: Well I believe that it's environment. It's not right now but it will be in 40 years.

Greg: I think in past years, even though I haven't been able to vote I really hadn't kept up with elections or politics at all, it didn't affect me, I didn't truly believe. Certainly this year it's a different scenario because a lot of the choices that the leader that we have will affect our lives and certainly maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but years from now. It could one day affect my children.

Julia: It's our decision, if we want a good country, we want freedom we have to make a right decision. The elections are not just about the names Bush or Kerry on the ballot. It's not just that, it is to make a decision to think what is right for our life and our country.

On November 2, these teens will make that decision, a decision that could affect their generation for decades to come.
In the last presidential election, 36 percent of young people between ages 18 and 24 voted. That's according to the Census Bureau.
This year, at least 46 percent are expected to vote.

Maya Golden reporting,