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Earning the right to complain
Deborah Miller, 53, of Centralia, heads out to the polls every election for a simple reason: She wants to earn the right to complain.
It’s a bit of family wisdom that’s been passed down.
“My grandpa always told me if I didn’t vote I couldn’t bitch,” Miller said.
Miller also talked about what she is looking for in a candidate.
“Just a change, basically.” Miller, who has a disability, identified health care as the most important issue to her in this campaign.
“I voted for (Barack) Obama,” she said. “There’s a lot of (reasons), but basically I didn’t want Bill Clinton to have a third term in office.”
While it is unclear yet who will win the Missouri primary, or take home the most delegates this Super Tuesday, one thing is clear: By simply voting in this election cycle, Miller has free rein to complain for the next four years. And that’s a civic right.
— Julie Karceski
Having a say in the system
This year marks the first chance Vicki Chang has had to help decide who will occupy the Oval Office. Originally from Taiwan, Chang became a U.S. citizen in 2005.
Holding up her voter identification card while heading into the polls Tuesday, Chang had a proud smile on her face.
“It took me 20 years to earn this. I take it very seriously,” she said. “Not everyone gets to participate in a democratic process. I think it’s important to have a say in the system.”
Chang said citizenship has given her a sense of security and lets her know she belongs.
“I have just as many rights and obligations as everyone else,” she said.
“I vote in every election. From the big ones to the little ones, I go vote.”
— Rachel Heaton
The pair are members of the Stephens College Democrats, and through the club they met a man they think is worth campaigning for: Chris Kelly.
Kelly is a Democrat running for state representative for the 24th District, which represents part of Columbia and southern Boone County. He hopes eventually to unseat Republican Ed Robb, who is in his second term.
Riggs and Edelstein were handing out leaflets with Kelly’s picture on one side and a few key points on the other. The women said there were others at polling places throughout southern Boone County joining them in the effort to make Kelly’s name recognizable.
“He cares about all the things people in Boone County care about, such as health care and education,” Edelstein said. “He really wants to unite the state and the parties. He’s for the people.”
As the rain began to fall, Riggs noticed that Kelly was rubbing off on her, literally. The background of the flyers were quickly turning her cream gloves a crisp, bold green. Riggs didn’t seem to mind, though. Huddled under a small pink umbrella, the women remained enthusiastic.
“We just want to get his name out and hope that they’ll remember him when they vote in August and November,” Riggs said.
— Rachel Heaton