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Some Young Voters WILL Vote May 12th

By Bill Zeeble, KERA reporter

Dallas, TX – Bill Zeeble, KERA 90.1 reporter:
Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet has seen it before in local elections: there's no big state or national race, nothing like a local arena or wet/dry alcohol election for voters to get enthusiastic or angry about. So he expects the average 10 percent turnout May 12th.

Bruce Sherbet, Dallas County Elections Adminstrator: All that said, you're still looking at 12 maybe13 percent on the high side. That doesn't mean that it's low, because it's still a pretty good average turnout for these kinds of elections.

Zeeble: Sherbet says those averages also show the 18 to 25 age group votes the least of any group. Maybe they're too busy with school, a job, friends, don't' think their vote matters - he's not sure - but Sherbet says most hold no political opinions. He adds most efforts to interest younger voters fail. Not so with Townview student Jessica Gutierrez, an activist with the League of United Latin American Citizens. This ll be the first time she can vote.

Jessica Gutierrez, high school studen: I've been taught from a young age - your vote, your voice, voice your opinion, make your opinion heard. You must be an active member of government to see change.

Zeeble: In a group of slightly older voters at a recent Dallas mayoral forum, most of this under 30 crowd is out of college, establishing professional careers, some starting families. These self-titled Young Guns are a more focused, and, like Project Manager Kimberly Burks, and architect Steven Ellwood. They plan to vote.

Kimberly Burkes, Project Manager:
The city seems kind of dead. They're trying to bring it back, but it's so slow. I think they might have missed out on the upswing of things. Now all the uptown high rises is going to overcrowd the market and price me out of staying in uptown.
Steven Ellwood, architect: I just want a smooth transition from what Laura Miller has done, which is very good. And someone who can carry on her legacy, and just getting people to agree sort of more collectively on issues. And keeping development central to Dallas.

Zeeble: Odd as it may sound, the citizen often harder to find in a race is in the vast majority - the non-voter. That's' Mike Hogenmiller, a successful TV and film camera shooter who graduated from SMU last year. One of his degrees was in political science. But he's never voted, saying our mostly 2-party system eliminates views not held by powerful, moneyed interests. He almost voted once to help establish a 3rd party in the next state election.

Mike Hogenmiller, cameraman: And then I decided that would be settling for a lesser of 2 evils and I wasn't satisfied with the outcome of that to go ahead and vote.

Zeeble: Hogenmiller dismisses phrases like 'your vote is your voice.'

Hogenmiller: 969/35 Your voice is your actions. There are people who voice political concerns with check books, through organizational ablitiies, through art, writing. I don't think your voice is your ballot per se. It's how you choose to make you're points known and then how you share those with people.

Zeeble: Hogenmiller will likely once again side with the majority May 12th by not voting. For those in the minority, early voting ends May 8th, with election day Saturday, May12th. For KERA 90.1 I'm Bill Zeeble