Full coverage: Election 2012
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In September, the Daily Bruin interviewed four first-time voters about the election. The Bruin checked in again with the students to find out how the last months of the election affected their decisions.
First-year biology student
College is busier than Liz Hechtman thought it would be ““ by Monday night, she had yet to find out where to vote.
The first-year biology student had much less time to devote to the election than she did in September, when the Daily Bruin last talked to her about her voting plans. At the time, she was undecided about her choice for president.
“I realized that college is a lot more hectic than I planned,” said Hechtman, who only had time to watch one full presidential debate, because she had marching band practices scheduled during the other ones.
The most important issue for her was reducing the national debt, but neither candidate seemed willing to take active steps to cut spending, she said.
So she wrote in Ron Paul on Tuesday’s ballot.
In September, Hechtman told The Bruin that she’s ideologically a Libertarian, but she felt Paul’s isolationist views were too extreme and she was leaning toward voting for Romney. After looking at both Romney’s and Obama’s political stances more closely,
though, she said she realized neither one is heading in the direction she wanted the country to move towards.
While she knows Paul, a former Republican presidential candidate, has no chance of becoming president, he better represents her view for the nation.
“It’s more of a symbolic vote,” Hechtman said. “I don’t want to settle because there wasn’t something better. I want to choose something I actually believe in.”
Second-year political science and business/economics student
Steven Tomiyama has been walking around campus in a pro-Mitt Romney T-shirt for the last week, which he said drew scoffs and laughs from passersby.
The registered Republican doesn’t align with all of the Republican Party’s social values, but improving the economy is his priority. He voted in his first presidential election for Romney via an absentee ballot for his home of Torrance, Calif. and sent it in last week, he said.
“We’ll still survive whether women have the right to choose (abortion) or not, but I don’t think we’ll survive in a crap economy,” said Tomiyama, a second-year political science and business economics student.
Tomiyama did become more sympathetic to some liberal issues in the weeks leading up to the election, though they didn’t sway his vote.
All of the on-campus campaigning has helped him understand student convictions behind Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-raising measure that University of California officials have said would result in frozen UC tuition for the immediate future. The proposition has good intentions, Tomiyama said, but he feels it was irresponsible, and the money could be found elsewhere.
“Getting a tuition hike for me ““ yea, it pisses me off,” said Tomiyama, who voted “no” on the initiative. “But I’d rather me as a student be responsible for my tuition increase rather than force the bill on taxpayers who aren’t in school.”
Third-year English student
The absentee ballot sat in Meghan Nelson’s room unopened for a few days after it came.
“I felt a little overwhelmed finally having to do it,” said Nelson, a third-year English student.
After the registered Democrat came to terms with everything in the ballot, she sat down and took an hour and a half brushing up on her proposition research, then filled it out.
She said she’d been keeping up with election news since The Bruin talked to her in September ““ both researching on her own and with her parents’ help.
“My parents are very politically active on Facebook,” Nelson said. “They basically told me that I have to vote for (Proposition 37), the labeling on food.”
The past six weeks of campaigning have not changed Nelson’s views since she last spoke with The Bruin. The most important issues to the Coronado, Calif. family are still women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, she said.
“I definitely think that President Obama did a better job of … showing more concern for both women and people in the LGBT community,” Nelson said. “I don’t think Mitt Romney cares very much about the LGBT community … just based on the past and his lack of discussion about it in the campaign.”
Fourth-year environmental science student
Jasneet Bains was surprised to see she would get to vote on more than one environmental initiative in the November election.
When Bains talked to The Bruin in September, she was only aware of Proposition 37, an initiative to require special labeling of genetically modified foods.
Since then, the fourth-year environmental science student learned about Proposition 39 and Los Angeles County Measure J. Proposition 39 would direct some new tax revenue from businesses to create energy efficiency-related jobs, and Measure J would increase the rate of some county transportation projects, which would likely relieve traffic in Los Angeles.
Bains said she researched the other propositions by looking at what their supporters and opponents wrote, and where money was coming from to fund them.
“I think it’s really important to see who’s funding the different propositions,” Bains said. “You can see the special interests.”
Bains, who voted for President Barack Obama on Tuesday, grew up in a Republican household. She and her parents agree to disagree on their voting choices, she said.
“I come from an environmental science perspective and they don’t have that,” she said.
Compiled by Sonali Kohli, Bruin senior staff.