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Voting by voice

Young adults casting their ballots, thoughts
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Erin Babich is about to do something for the first time in her young adult life. She is going to vote. The 18-year-old Placer High School senior said she is looking forward to participating in the democratic process this Tuesday. “I’m really excited because I’m learning more about the issues,” Babich said. “I can talk about them with other people and we can have intellingent discussions.” Babich is one of several young adults in the area who are getting an early start in learning about national and state issues. Once a week, Babich joins about 20 to 30 of her classmates for a lunchtime meeting of the school’s political forum club. At that forum, students from both ends of the political spectrum spend about 40 minutes talking about the hot topic of the day. Friday before the election, students and their adviser, Mark Underwood, discussed Proposition 8, vice presidential candidates and more. “About a third is to the right and two-thirds is to the left but the students listen,” Underwood said. “I think that’s so refreshing that they share their concerns without getting upset or defenseive.” The idea of the bi-partisan forum was the brainchild of forum president Ian Haydon, Underwood said. Haydon, a senior at Placer High, said he will miss voting in this year’s election by one month. He said that isn’t stopping him from discussing his views with others and listening to theirs. “I think the fact that I can’t vote is the largest reason why I am active,” Haydon said. Auburn business owner Larry Gosch said he hopes those students who can vote will exercise their rights. As an incentive Gosch, owner of Encore Music Center, is offering a free set of guitar strings to any student who comes into his shop after the election and shows a student body ID card and proof that they voted. “If kids don’t vote, they’re not taking part in what happens to them,” Gosch said. Gosch, who has been a professional musician since a young age, said he is proud to say he’s voted in every election since he was able to in 1972. “I’d like to see kids be the same way,” Gosch said. “It’s important for young voices to say something as opposed to sitting back and letting it happen.” Babich said she would agree. She added that she encourages young voters to educate themselves about the issues instead of solely listening to media reports or their parents’ opinions. She said after doing her own research, she’s ready to cast her first vote on her first ballot on her first Election Day. And why will she do it? “I hope that I can change the election by voting for the candidate I think is best suited for America,” Babich said. “I hope the guy I want to win, will win.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.