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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Ohio Voters

Air Date: Week of

Host Steve Curwood talks with three Ohio voters who were undecided just days before the election about how they made their presidential picks.


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth, I'm Steve Curwood. Last month we traveled to Ohio to talk to undecided voters about their views on the presidential race. The final tally in this swing state was 50% for Bush, 46% for Gore, 3% for Nader and 1% for Buchanan. Today we again visit with some originally unsure Ohioans who eventually made up their minds and cast their ballots. I'm joined now by Tom Ernie. Hi Tom!

ERNIE: Hey, how you doing?

CURWOOD: And Marilyn Welker.

WELKER: Hello!

CURWOOD: And Rob Boley.

BOLEY: Hello.

CURWOOD: Now during the campaign season you were all wavering between Al Gore and Ralph Nader. And Tom, let's start with you. How did you make your decision in the end? ERNIE: It was a difficult decision. I even had a little difficulty when I got into the voting booth, but I realized that I agree with the political stands that Ralph Nader had made throughout the campaign. When I looked at the vote, there was much more at stake here than just my ideology. I started to view the possibility that the strong Nader role, which I still hoped that secretly that he did well and got the five percent, but I was fearful that he was going to prevent Al Gore from winning and it would cause George Bush to win. And then the issues I care about the most would be at the highest risk: the environment, the role of corporations in America, our economy.

CURWOOD: Marilyn, what did you decide to do when you got into the voting booth?

WELKER: I voted for Al Gore.

CURWOOD: What won you over?

WELKER: Several things. One, a column that was written by Nat Henthoff and he compared Ralph Nader to the Socialist candidate Norman Thomas who had run for election back in 1928 through 1942. He pointed out that his work was about educating voters, not winning the election and how many issues had come to the fore and passed after he disappeared from the scene. And I thought that's Ralph Nader's role. I'm going to give Al Gore the benefit of the doubt. I think that he is extremely smart and I believe that he is a man of integrity and he does want to go down the road that Ralph Nader can speak of so strongly.

CURWOOD: OK, Rob, now we're going to turn to you. How did it work out for you?

BOLEY: I ended up voting for Ralph Nader.

CURWOOD: I'm sure you heard the criticism that a vote for Nader was a wasted vote or a vote for Bush. How did you respond to that criticism?

BOLEY: I guess I feel that belief and action kind of go hand in hand and I believe in just about everything Nader says and I just felt like I owed it to myself to vote for him. And I guess I feel that your vote is your voice and that's what I wanted to say in this election, that I support Nader.

CURWOOD: Marilyn, how do you think the history books will look at all this?

WELKER: Politics is in many ways where the action is not, at this point. I believe that what is happening so escapes the media in terms of change and social transformation and it's not in the political realm by and large. So I would hope that we could come to that realization and understand that news is far more than politics and that political leaders often end up being followers of what is already taking place at the grass roots.

CURWOOD: I want to thank you very much Rob Boley, Tom Ernie and Marilyn Welker.

WELKER: Thank you Steve.

ERNIE: Thank you.

BOLEY: You're very welcome.



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