The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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April 21, 2008

All eyes on Pennsylvania's election

Even those without a vote watch race closely

DANVILLE -- Despite not having a vote in Tuesday's primary election, a corps of Danville teens is still keeping track of the dynamic presidential race knowing the impact it will have on their future.

They've watched debates, followed countless articles, and even navigated the Internet for blogs and profile features to determine which candidate best meets the heavy criteria to lead our country.

Why bother?

Well, these 17-year-olds say it's an investment in their future. There will be a day when their vote will count, according to Sean Neilson, a Danville High School junior.

"It's important to understand what's going on with our government," said Sean, who will turn 18 two weeks after the general election. "It won't be long before we're going to be affected by these policies, so we should start learning now and not play catch up when the time comes.

"It makes your vote more important, because you know what you're supporting and not just casting a blank vote."

Sean is among roughly 100 juniors who started their political fascination last fall in Melissa Boonie's American Government class. Although the class ended in December, many of the students have continued to keep an eye on the race in anticipation for the primary election.

Katie Shope, 17, says she has been focused on this year's presidential election because of its potential to shape her future.

"We were able to learn about all of the big issues facing our country and see how our next president plans to fix those issues," Katie said. "The next couple of years are going to be a major time in our lives as we head into college then find a job. What this next president does during that time will have a great impact on our lives. It also helps us get a good foundation on what we should know for the next election."

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