Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

The Littlest Voters

Posted May 1, 2008

Pardon me if I deviate from my usual crime blog this week to discuss politics.  Don't worry, I'm not going to compare economic plans, health plans or discuss the war in Iraq.  Nor do I plan to publicly endorse a candidate.  Instead I'm fascinated by the interest young people are taking in this presidential election.  I don't mean young people as in college students, I mean young people, people who are not old enough to vote.

"We're for Obama, we're for Obama," Gray Specter and John Hodges chanted to a WRAL camera lens Monday night at UNC.  They acknowledged as mere adolescents they were not yet old enough to vote, but they planned to vote in their school election.

My second grader came home from school the other day with a list of reasons why she likes Hillary Clinton.  They were surprisingly similar to the reasons she like "American Idol" contestants, but nonetheless I was intrigued by her interest at such a young age in the election.  The list included the fact that Clinton would be the first woman president, but more importantly, that her first name is "Hillary," the same name of my daughter's best friend in dance class.

We come from a diverse political family, so not everyone shares my daughter's enthusiasm for her chosen candidate, but the reality is that at least she's thinking about it and talking about it.  When I was eight I was much more interested in playing with Barbies than talking politics.

The good news is that every time a rising star gets voted off of "American Idol" my daughter quickly switches her allegiance to another contestant with very little effort, so I think she'll be okay no matter who gets the nomination.  Sounds a little bit like politics, doesn't it?

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.