Editor’s Note: The Voting Project is a collection of interviews put together by D.L. Richardson’s JRN251 class. With elections fast approaching, the class went out and asked people two simple questions: who they were voting for and why. The answers may surprise you:
Evan Lasley, 20, has been an avidly involved member of the Rogue Valley community for years. A political activist and member of Peace House, a local organization that promotes non-violence and social justice, Lasley helped organize the Occupy movement in Ashland and Medford last year. Despite his advocacy, he was wary to admit whom he voted for in the 2012 presidential election.
In 2008 Lasley was involved in President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, because he liked Obama’s vision of bipartisanship. The past four years of Obama’s presidency left Lasley somewhat disappointed though. Bipartisanship had become less prevalent and more difficult, the Bush-era tax cuts were continued, Guantanamo Bay was not shut down, and Obama was not taking a stand for the constitutional rights of Americans.
“We need a transformative vision,” said Lasley.
Lasley believed that because the executive branch has grown increasingly powerful and corrupt, the government is no longer representative of the common people.
“We have less of a voice in the federal election,” he said. “But we can make an impact on state and local levels. Be educated and get to know your candidates because your voice can make a difference.”
“Our country can become very divided over our views of government,” he said. “We are not going to find the solution through one candidate.”
Whether Obama or Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is elected this November, Lasley anticipated the party opposition that will threaten the hope of bipartisanship and thus the hope for a true democracy.
Jamey Strathman, a creative writing major, will be voting for Obama instead of Romney in the upcoming election.
“It’s a vote of opposition,” said Strathman, in ardent resistance to the Republican candidate.
Strathman said he was skeptical about Romney’s honesty.
“Romney changes his message based on who he’s talking to,” he said.
Strathman said he didn’t expecting Romney to come through on his promises and took an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude concerning the candidate’s platform. Without specifics or detailed policies, Strathman said, Romney offers little for him to believe in.
Strathman fears that the Romney foreign policy, particularly concerning relations with China, would threaten the security of the American people.
“War with China would be a very dark period of American history,” he said, adding that he is using his vote against Romney as a preventative measure.
Unimpressed by the Republican and Democratic campaigns, Jordan Lewis will be casting his vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson in the upcoming presidential election.
Lewis said that although it’s hard to judge how corrupt a leader is, he was not content with settling for the lesser of two evils this election year.
“Johnson is for the people,” he said. “He’s not a puppet. It’s basically impossible that he will be elected as president, but he’s the best choice I see.”
Lewis didn’t believe he was throwing his vote away by casting it for an independent party candidate, citing the fact that the Libertarian party is not only the third largest political party in the United States, but also one of the fastest growing.
Lewis believed even a small impact in the popular vote will direct more attention to independent parties in future elections.
Lewis became increasingly concerned with policies that threaten our constitutional rights after Obama’s approval of the National Defense Authorization Act, a controversial defense bill which denies U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism the right to trial before indefinite detainment and military interrogation. Lewis also found Romney’s policies and personal character unconvincing.
“There’s nobody within our current government that I trust,” he said.