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As Obama, Romney election nears, some Ohio State students still undecided

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

Election Day is less than one week away, and despite all the political coverage on TV, social media and presidential candidate visits on and around campus, some Ohio State students still do not know who they’re voting for.
“We figure most people know who they’re voting for for president, but we see a lot of people not knowing about local elections,” said Hillary Doyle, director for media relations at OSU Votes.
OSU Votes “is a non-partisan committee headed by Pay It Forward at The Ohio Union dedicated to registering, educating and motivating students to vote,” according to its website, vote.osu.edu.
Meredith Leal, a third-year in international studies, said voting “is a right we have that many countries do not give their citizens, and we should take advantage of it.”
Emily Tennant, a fourth-year in English, also said she feels voting is an important right to exercise.
“I could not complain about our country’s policy or actions if I did not at least try to make my voice heard through my vote,” Tennant said.
Although Leal and Tennant plan to vote next week, they are still undecided for whom they should vote.
“I don’t really like either candidate,” Leal said, who added she feels like she needs to find the “lesser evil” of the two.
But the tug to vote for either President Barack Obama or Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney isn’t what is troubling Luke McLaughlin, a fourth-year in history.
“I’m not necessarily undecided between Obama and Romney, I’m undecided between Obama and Gary Johnson,” McLaughlin said.
Gary Johnson is a candidate from the Libertarian Party. According to his website, “5 percent of the vote ends the two-party abuse and allows Libertarian candidates equal ballot access and government funding.”  
The vote to end the “two-party abuse” in America is part of the reason McLaughlin is divided between the two candidates, but he says he’s unsure where his vote would be best served.
“I know voting for someone who isn’t Republican or Democrat is kind of a waste of my vote,” McLaughlin said.
Leal said she’s trying to focus on which candidate will make better changes in the long term.
“Thinking long term isn’t something people in my generation tend to think about,” Leal said.
Tennant said she knows where she stands on social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, but is less clear on economical and foreign policy issues.
If Tennant were to vote solely on social issues, she said, “I know without question that I would vote for Obama.”
Tennant said the future of the economy is a concern of hers because she will soon be graduating and entering the work force. Her brother is in the military, which also makes each candidate’s foreign policy plan important to her.
For those still undecided, Doyle said OSU Votes recommends using online tools that provide information and context on the issues so people can be informed on Election Day.
Students unsure of their voting location or have general voting questions can visit the OSU Votes website, the Franklin County Board of Elections website, the Secretary of State website or the site for the county in which they are voting.
“I’d urge people to do their research to make the most informed decision as possible,” Doyle said.
According to a Tuesday seven-day rolling Gallup poll, Obama and Romney were tied at 48 percent for registered voters, but Romney leads 51 percent to Obama’s 46 percent in likely voters.
Obama canceled several campaign stops, including some in Ohio, this week due to the arrival of Superstorm Sandy. On Tuesday evening, he had already canceled events scheduled for Wednesday, but in his absence, former President Bill Clinton continued campaign efforts Tuesday and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to make campaign stops in Florida on Wednesday. Romney continued on the campaign trail and held a campaign rally Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio, that turned into a storm relief effort. He is scheduled to make an appearance with vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan in West Chester, Ohio, on Friday after returning to a full day of campaigning Wednesday.
Obama is expected to make a stop at the Franklin County fairgrounds in Hilliard Friday morning, according to a report from The Columbus Dispatch, along with two other Ohio stops that day. 

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