Gender, race may factor in election

Participants in the Leon County District Florida Primary Election said that race and gender-related controversy of the Democratic party influenced this year’s voter turnout.

“More people (will) vote this election (because) of the controversy and the history that will be made,” said Kristy Aycock, 23, a psychology and child development student from Chipley.

Aycock, who said she voted for presidential hopeful Barack Obama because “she agrees with what he says,” also said she has a strong feeling this year’s election will convert college students into annual voters.

“College students vote for Obama because he represents so much change,” Aycock said.

Although one student was motivated to vote in hopes of a change, students like Kevin Hirshorn, 21, voted because he felt his vote would contribute to the fight against racism.

“There is a huge problem with racism,” said Hirshorn, a Florida State University marketing student from Miami. “Him (Barack Obama) being president will unite people. Obama has inspired a younger generation to get involved.”

Hirshorn said he believes he voted for the right candidate because Obama’s ideas are a “fresh start for the community.”

The Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho said race will always be an issue in elections.

“Race and gender have played a role in every election and will in this one,” Sancho said.

Students may have let race determine their presidential hopefuls, but one election official said race had nothing to do with the voter turnout on Tuesday.

The Director of Cabinet Affairs for the Florida Democratic Party, R. Justin Day, said race and gender will not be a big issue at the polls.

“Only something like 3 percent of the voters in Iowa were black, and Obama still won there.”