First time voters in St. Charles County share questions, concern - KMOV.com

First time voters in St. Charles County share questions, concerns

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College students who will cast their vote in the 2016 election (Credit: KMOV) College students who will cast their vote in the 2016 election (Credit: KMOV)
ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KMOV.com) -

Some seasoned voters might be ready for this election to just be over, but first time voters are reveling in the chance to have their say.

"I watch the debates. I read about it. I live it, breathe it, work it, and everything else," said Haley Zink, a student at St. Charles Community College.

It's important to understand what millennials are talking about because they make up 30 percent of the electorate, according to Pew Research. There are nearly as many millennials who are of voting age as there are Baby Boomers. So, News 4 reached out to St. Charles Community College and Lindenwood University to get a group of students together to hear their thoughts, questions, and concerns as they head into the polling place for the first time.

"For me it's where it hits your pocketbook," said Eric Fritsche, a student at St. Charles Community College. "You got to figure out how much and where it's being used because that's where it really hits you personally."

"Mainly human rights, whether that be for the LGBTIQ community, people of color, women," said Zink.

"A big one for me is abortion. With my religion, I don't think it's right," said Taylor Schaefer, a student at St. Charles Community College.

"I tend to pay more attention to state elections because they more directly pertain to me. My governor more directly affects me than the president," said Keegan Good, a Wentzville native who now attends Truman State University.

The students explained how they developed their views.

"I think there are three main things that come into play with your views; your values, your parents, and your friends all influence you," said Fritsche.

"My mom is more liberal leaning. My father more conservative leaning. It's an interesting position, me being an independent," said Good.

These students are keyed into the presidential candidates, but like many Americans, they are not always impressed with them or their debates.

"That's what's being talked about in the classes, on the news, it's everywhere," said Schaefer. “They're just yelling back and forth and I get so frustrated trying to figure out what they're actually saying."

For a few of the students, the biggest scandals and surprises of this election were clear.

"I think the biggest one out there was probably Hillary's emails of course," said Fritsche.

"Donald Trump's misogyny and videos and articles about women coming forward, I think that was very... it's been a tense summer," said Zink.

These students are also thinking about action and how that could directly affect them and their friends. Some said foreign policy and veterans benefits particularly concern them.

"We all just graduated high school so a lot of our friends that we know just went straight off into the Army or any branch. We want to know how are they going be treated. Are they going to fight for something that's worth fighting for?” said Fritsche.

Having a say on issues that directly impact them and their generation is one reason this group is eager to join the conversation with a vote.

“I remember like in sixth grade, being like ‘Oh, there’s a presidential election going on, I can’t wait to vote.’ And now I get to vote and I’m so excited about it!” said Schaefer.

“We are going to tell our children about this election. This is an election of a lifetime,” said Good.

Among the issues that did not come up was affordable health care. These young voters said that's not really something they've had to pay attention to since most of them are still covered by their parents. They also said the affordable education was not a deciding factor in who they plan to vote for.

While the group of students covered a range of political views and values, they acknowledged the conversation may have been different if there was more diversity within the group.              

Copyright 2015 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

First time voters in St. Charles County share questions, concerns

College students who will cast their vote in the 2016 election (Credit: KMOV) College students who will cast their vote in the 2016 election (Credit: KMOV)

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