Aaron Keeley from Provo, Utah, reflects on why he votes and hopes that voters will turn away from party considerations and vote on issues...
Months ago, Howard Dean, Chairman of the DNC, appeared on the Colbert Report and, as a joke, claimed that the Democrats would take Utah this November.
Since Utah is often considered the reddest of red states, it's easy to laugh at "something that only Howard Dean would say".
But as a liberal in Utah, I'm going to try and make it happen anyway.
Of course, I realize that, due to the Electoral College system, my vote will most likely not count this November.
Still, I plan to cast a ballot - this election seems too important to simply not participate, even with the knowledge that my participation will have little to do with the final outcome.
Just one of the many Obama houses in my neighbourhood
But as a relatively young American voter, and with two wars costing me as a tax payer billions of dollars, an emerging financial crisis, the rising cost of health care, the continued and irreversible damaging of the environment, and the general lowered standards of the American educational system, I am, selfishly perhaps, worried about my own future.
Though I am, politically speaking, anomalous in Utah, in recent conversations with friends and neighbors found that many typically conservative voters (in my area at least) are increasingly unsatisfied with the Republican party and Senator McCain.
McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, frighteningly unqualified and uniformed, has convinced many of the independent minded Republicans I know to consider Senator Obama, third party candidates, or simply not voting.
I have also heard McCain's unilateral approach to international politics, and views on Iraq and Afghanistan, openly mocked by those who would, in any other election, simply vote along the Republican party line.
Neighbours are clear in their support
And while many of my conservative friends don't like the idea of an economic bailout, it is widely perceived as a necessity.
The failure of most Republican members congress to vote for the bill has further alienated them from their own constituents.
In short, many Utahn Republicans seem fed up with their own party.
No spin zone
Despite this, I am still surprised whenever I see an Obama 08 sticker/sign/shirt here in Provo, UT.
So I started to count, comparing the visual support for Obama to McCain.
Campus Democrats are rooting for change
As of today, Obama is in the lead by a very large margin. Perhaps this is because Provo is a college town, and Obama always polls well with younger voters compared to his septuagenarian rival.
It could be that Utahns are still miffed over McCain's choosing Palin as VP over Mitt Romney.
It is a fact that since neither party campaigns in Utah, considered a "lock" for the Republicans, voters here have been in a relative "no spin zone" (yes, the quote is used ironically).
What I hope, is that with the stakes of this election so high, voters are turning away from party considerations and focusing on issues.
If this is happening, then Obama has a solid chance of taking Utah.
I'm one of many voters that is, foolishly perhaps, trying to turn Utah blue.
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