Undecided voters cast their ballots

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 | 5:17 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A month before Election Day, Missourian reporters sought out what were likely the last of Columbia's undecided voters and followed the decision-making process leading up to what appears to be a historic election.

Keith Clark, Amy Davis and Miguel Lopez cast their ballots for the first time Tuesday.

Stay-at-home dad Keith, 37, made the decision to vote for Democratic candidate Barack Obama after watching the presidential debates. He said he grew tired of Republican candidate John McCain's name-calling and finger-pointing and was impressed with Obama's health-care and education plans.

"You should vote because of what your family's issues are or what your family is striving for and what candidate can help you achieve those goals," Keith said. "Whether he's black or white doesn't matter."

Keith also voted for Ninth District U.S. Congressional candidate Judy Baker, a Democrat, because of her campaigning tactics.

"She came to my door, and I haven't seen any other candidates come to my door to find out what I think," Keith said. "And I like that."

Amy, 18, a freshman MU journalism student, was undecided for the majority of the campaign season. After four debates and many campaign commercials, it came down to the week before elections when she solidified her vote: John McCain.

"My family means so much to me," Amy said. "And thinking of my family and my friends and their families; the way that certain things that affect that, would be better if McCain wins."

McCain's tax plan, economic policies and health-care plan were the driving forces for Amy's support. Amy said that his policies were ideal for her family and friends.

"For me it's hard to think of a national thing," she said. "It's because I think more at a personal level, like the people I know that are closest to me, and how it would affect them and how it would affect me in the future."

Thirty-seven year old Miguel, a new citizen of the U.S., initially felt both candidates had something to offer: McCain had experience and Obama had an appealing youthfulness and promise for change.  Yet throughout the campaign, and after an economic crisis, Miguel said he began to question whether McCain could break away from President George W. Bush's bad policies and decisions. After the debates, Miguel decided that Obama was the one who could guarantee not to follow Bush's footsteps and the one who could bring real change.   

"McCain is the past, and Obama is the future.  You see the past and it's no good."

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