First Time Voters Studying Up on Issues

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, October 17 2012 at 6:35 PM, Updated: Wed, October 17 2012 at 7:07 PM

20-year-old Dustin Cokely is new to the elections process.

"I just registered to vote this year so it's my first time," said Cokely.

Cokely is part of roughly 85% of Jackson County Residents who are expected to vote this November.

"Previously I felt that my vote wouldn't matter too much but recently my mind has changed," he said.

He's one of the 50-thousand students the Oregon Student Association said they newly registered this year.

And officials said they expect this year will be no different than previous years when it comes to voter turnout.

"The state of Oregon consistently turns out higher than anywhere else in the country," said Chris Walker, Jackson County Clerk.

Cokely said he's taking the dive because he cares about Oregon state's marijuana measure among other issues on the table this year.

"I'm interested in how much income it will produce for our state," said Cokely.

The backers of the state measure looking to legalize marijuana have floundered financially and now the financial supporters of Oregon's casino measures have pulled funding on their campaign.

Whatever that my look like to voters, Chris Walker said nothing has been decided yet. That is, until voters turn in their ballots.

"There have been races that were so close...just within a few hundred votes or a few votes themselves so there's no such thing as it's already been decided," said Walker.

The $14.5-million bond measure to fund Medford pools, the renewal of taxes in Ashland to fund the library, and the incorporation of White City to become a city are just a few local measures on the ballot. Add to that the commissioner's race and other city seats.

"I've been planning on diving deeper in the subjects," said first-time voter Kimberly Prowell.

And there's a lot to study up on before election day this November.

For more information on the candidates and measures, you can pick up a voters' pamphlet at the Jackson County Elections Office, post office or library.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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