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On May 8, the hottest items on the N.C. ballot will be picking a candidate in the Republican pimary and voting on Amendment One, which bans all forms of legally recognized marriages other than those between and man and a woman.

Will even one of these two reasons be enough to draw N.C. college students to the polls?

Taking into account that final exams for UNC, Duke University and N.C. State University end May 4, May 5 and May 9 respectively, meaning many will have no structure on May 8 because the semester has ended and their summer job hasn’t started, here are the predictions for who would bother to fill out a ballot in the May primaries.

With an assignment of reporting on voter apathy, I started with asking friends.

“Yes, I am an apathetic voter. Why do you care?” was a common response.

College students might have Tweeted about Rep. Anthony Weiner sending a lewd picture of himself to all his Twitter followers, or shared a campaign video of Rick Perry’s on a friend’s Facebook wall for a good laugh, but they are unlikely to turn out at the polls to vote for or against these politicians.

They, like the rest of America, are suffering from voter apathy.

But one friend caught me off-guard when I asked him if he voted.

“Of course I vote! I have to exercise my civic duty,” said Jack Zapple, and it should be noted that his father is running for county commissioner of New Hanover County. “If anything, it’s because so few in the world can.”

Very true. Let’s compare the U.S.’s voting situation to Afghanistan’s. Afghanistan held its first election in 2004, which had an 83 percent turnout from the registered voters and 67 percent turnout from the voting age population, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Although the voting day was relatively peaceful, nearly 1,000 people, including U.S. troops, election workers and Afghan voters, were reported killed by Associated Press in 2004 before the election. 

Threatened by attacks from the Taliban and other armed opposition groups, Afghans have voted less in subsequent elections. In 2010, possibly plus or minus a few fraud ballots, 45.8 percent of the registered voters and only 29.7 percent of the voting age population cast a ballot.

Now let’s think about voting in the U.S. Those passionate about U.S. citizens exercising their civic duty popped the champagne bottles in 2008 when 5 million more people voted in the presidential election than in 2004, with a total of 49 percent of the registered 18-to-24-year-old  voters and  64 percent turnout for the voting age population, according to the U.S. Census.

In other words, for the two countries’ most popular elections of the past decade, four out of five registered voters cast a ballot in Afghanistan despite insurgent attacks, compared to three out of five registered voters in the U.S.

Some complain that the right to vote is still threatened in the U.S. by states passing laws requiring identification cards at the polls, or adding other steps to the voting process,  but the real problem is that people just don’t care or bother.

On May 8, the North Carolina ballot will include democratic governor nominations, Republican presidential candidate nominations and Amendment One, banning gay marriage and unrecognizing all relationships other than marriage between a man and a woman.

In the May primaries for 2008, Wake County, where N.C. State University is located, saw a 39.2 percent turnout; Orange County, holding UNC, saw a 48.5 percent turnout; and Durham County, containing Duke University, saw at 51.27 percent turnout. There are hot issues on the ballot for both registered Republicans and Democrats, but since none of the Republican candidates have made as trendy campaign posters as Barack Obama did in 2008, it is unclear whether the actual candidates and issues at hand will be enough to get the Triangle Area college students to vote.

Taking into account that final exams for UNC, Duke University and N.C. State University end May 4, May 5 and May 9 respectively, meaning many will have no structure on May 8 because the semester has ended and their summer job hasn’t started, here are the predictions for who would bother to fill out a ballot in the May primaries. What do you think?

UNC was shut out by N.C. State 13-0 Saturday in the Wolfpack’s fifth straight win against the Tar Heels.

While the UNC offense was unable to put any points on the board, redshirt freshman tailback Giovani Bernard became the first Tar Heel in 14 seasons to rush for more than 1,000 yards.

The Wolfpack scored a touchdown in the first quarter and field goals in the second and third. Mike Glennon, N.C. State’s quarterback, and the Wolfpack offense quickly discovered a weakness in North Carolina’s defensive line and ran the ball for 126 net rushing yards. The Tar Heel offense had hard time keeping up with this pace and gave up three sacks on quarterback Bryn Renner. Renner left the game twice, but came out for good early in the third quarter with a possible concussion. Backup quarterback Braden Hanson came in to play the rest of the game.

Going into the final games of the regular season–Virginia Tech on the road and Duke at home–the Tar Heels are 6-4 overall and 2-4 in the ACC.


Related:

N.C. State defense shuts down UNC for 13-0 win — News & Observer

UNC-N.C. State play-by-play — ESPN

Wolfpack shuts out Tar Heels 13-0 — WRAL

UNC’s Bernard cracks 1,000 yard mark vs. NC State — The Associated Press

Today UNC (6-3, 2-3 ACC ) is down the road in Raleigh playing football against N.C. State (4-4, 1-3 ACC).

The heated exchange of words between UNC interim head coach Everett Withers and N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien earlier this week only heightened anticipation for today’s game, which is the teams’ 101st meeting .

Where: Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh

When: 12:30 p.m.

How to watch: ACC Network, WRAL TV

How to follow:  Online Gametracker

Others tweeting: @ACCSports, @TarHeelMonthly, @TarHeelFootball

Check back to reesenews after the game ends for a full photo gallery from the game.

Game preview 

Carolina enters the game after a strong performance against Wake Forest last week. In the Heels’ 49-24 victory, they scored the most points since their 49-34 win over William and Mary in 2004. Freshman tailback Gio Bernard was the star of the game, rushing for 154 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns. Meanwhile, quarterback Bryn Renner threw a career-high 388 yards. The Heels’ defense forced a season-best five takeaways and a fumble recovery. With their win, the Heels became bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive year.

Coming off of a painful 34-0 shutout against Florida State, N.C. State hopes a win at home over the Heels will put them one step closer to bowl eligibility. The Wolfpack must win three of their remaining four games in order to be bowl eligible.

What to watch

A quick start is key for UNC, who has outscored its opponents 49-0 in the first quarter of its six wins. This might not fare well for the Wolfpack, a team who generally starts slow and has managed only 24 first-quarter points this year.

The rivalry heats up

While speaking on Wednesday, Nov. 2 during an interview on 99.99 The Fan, an ESPN Affiliate, UNC interim head coach added some fuel to the N.C. State – Carolina football rivalry before the schools meet for the 101st time on Saturday.

“When you have as many schools in this state as you have and the recruiting base gets watered down a little bit, I think the kids in this state need to know ‘the flagship school,’ ” said Withers.

“They need to know it academically. If you look at our graduation rates opposed to our opponent this week for football, I think you’ll see a difference. If you look at the educational environment here, I think you’ll see a difference.”

Withers was referring to a recent NCAA study released in late October in which the graduation rate of N.C. State athletes ranked last among all ACC schools.

While speaking to media on Thursday morning following the Wolfpack’s practice, N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien returned the jabs.

“As far as the flagship, here was a guy who was on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis,” O’Brien said, referring to UNC’s meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions last Friday.

“You have an agent on staff, you are paying players and you have academic fraud.”

On Saturday UNC (6-3, 2-3 ACC ) will head down the road about 30 miles to Raleigh to take on the N.C. State Wolfpack (4-4, 1-3 ACC). The Heels, who lead the overall series, 63-31-6, hope to end their four-game losing streak.

The heated exchange of words between UNC interim head coach Everett Withers and N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien this week has only heightened the anticipation level for Saturday’s game, which will be teams’ 101st meeting .

Where: Carter-Finley Stadium

When: 12:30 p.m.

Watch: on ACC Network

Weather forecast: 50 degrees and sunny

Game preview 

Carolina enters the game after a strong performance against Wake Forest last week. In the Heels’ 49-24 victory, they scored the most points since their 49-34 win over William and Mary in 2004. Freshman tailback Gio Bernard was the star of the game, rushing for 154 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns. Meanwhile, quarterback Bryn Renner threw a career-high 388 yards. The Heels’ defense forced a season-best five takeaways and a fumble recovery. With their win, the Heels became bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive year.

Coming off of a painful 34-0 shutout against Florida State, N.C. State hopes a win at home over the Heels will put them one step closer to bowl eligibility. The Wolfpack must win three of their remaining four games in order to be bowl eligible.

What to watch

A quick start is key for UNC, who has outscored its opponents 49-0 in the first quarter of its six wins. This might not fare well for the Wolfpack, a team who generally starts slow and has managed only 24 first-quarter points this year.

The rivalry heats up

While speaking on Wednesday, Nov. 2 during an interview on 99.99 The Fan, an ESPN Affiliate, UNC interim head coach added some fuel to the N.C. State – Carolina football rivalry before the schools meet for the 101st time on Saturday.

“When you have as many schools in this state as you have and the recruiting base gets watered down a little bit, I think the kids in this state need to know ‘the flagship school,’ ” said Withers.

“They need to know it academically. If you look at our graduation rates opposed to our opponent this week for football, I think you’ll see a difference. If you look at the educational environment here, I think you’ll see a difference.”

Withers was referring to a recent NCAA study released in late October in which the graduation rate of N.C. State athletes ranked last among all ACC schools.

While speaking to media on Thursday morning following the Wolfpack’s practice, N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien returned the jabs.

“As far as the flagship, here was a guy who was on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis,” O’Brien said, referring to UNC’s meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions last Friday.

“You have an agent on staff, you are paying players and you have academic fraud.”

President Barack Obama spoke at N.C. State today to pitch the American Jobs Act, a $447 billion bill of tax cuts, infrastructure, and job benefits intended to revitalize the economy.

“That’s what we’ve got to get back to,” he said. “That’s why I came to Raleigh today.”

Obama spoke to a wildly enthusiastic crowd of N.C. State students. Many lined up the day before for tickets and packed the humid Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh to hear the President speak on Wednesday.

Obama told the students, many of whom had skipped class to hear the speech, to lobby Congress to pass the legislation, which he said would improve schools and infrastructure across the nation.

“Everything in it will be paid for,” Obama said. “Every single one of you can make this bill a reality.”

The Act would be funded primarily by taxes on the wealthy, which gained positive traction among the crowd on Wednesday.

The plan has already been met with opposition from Republicans unwilling to increase spending, but Obama is banking on support from House Speaker John Boehner and the public to get the legislation through.

“There are some Republicans who get it,” he said. “This is not the time for partisanship.”

He said many Republicans are reluctant to pass the bill because they’re unwilling to give him a “win” as the 2012 election approaches.

“Give me a win?” he asked. “Give me a break!”

He said the legislation would work to improve infrastructure and schools across the nation, an idea that was met with support from students in the audience.

“This is America,” he said. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t want our students going to class in broken-down schools.”

Obama is focusing his persuasive efforts on swing states, having spoken in Boehner’s home state of Ohio on Tuesday, where he urged the public to “pass this bill.”

In August, Obama led GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney by three points in the state, according to Public Policy Polling.

North Carolina went for Obama in 2008 by only about 14,000 votes. The state remains a major battleground for the 2012 election, when the Democrats will host their nominating convention in Charlotte.

In the middle of speaking, Obama was interupted by a student who yelled, “I love you Barack!” He laughed and replied, “I love you too,” before asking for help passing the bill.

Relive the speech by going through Tweets from the speech at @reesenow.

The game
Going into North Carolina’s final home game of the season, North Carolina State had beaten UNC three years in a row.
On Nov. 20, that streak continued. North Carolina (6-4, 3-3 ACC) fell to N.C. State (7-3, 4-2 ACC) 29-25.

The Tar Heels led 16-10 after two unimpressive quarters. The excitement — and N.C. State’s momentum — came in the second half. The Wolfpack had two touchdowns, including a controversial Owen Spencer catch late in the third quarter that resulted in N.C. State wide receiver Jarvis Williams and UNC linebacker Kevin Reddick being disqualified.

Quarterback T.J. Yates broke his own record for the most passing yards in a single season and had a career-high 33 completions, eclipsing Darian Durant’s record for all-time passing yards. He threw for 411 yards and two touchdowns.

Superlatives

Three reasons why the game was lost

  1. Sacks. N.C. State seemed out to ruin Yates’ great game, sacking him seven times and effectively pressuring him throughout the game.
  2. Finishing with a touchdown. UNC had multiple opportunities for touchdowns that ended up being field goals instead. And while that’s great for standout kicker Casey Barth, it’s not as great for the scoreboard.
  3. Luck. When it comes down to it, the N.C. State-UNC matchup is always up in the air. And while both teams fought hard for the win, N.C. State had fate on their side this time.

Superhero
T.J. Yates. The senior quarterback was breaking and setting records left and right, but with those seven sacks, he couldn’t pull the Tar Heels out of the hole.

Hero
Anthony Elzy. The senior tailback went out in the fourth quarter with a left shin contusion. He managed to rack up 187 receiving yards and one touchdown before leaving the game.

Villainous performance
Owen Spencer. The  wide receiver had 87 yards and scored the third-quarter Hail Mary touchdown that brought N.C. State back into the game.

Quotes

Butch Davis, UNC head coach, on not putting the ball away
“The other disappointing thing is the inability, when you get in the red zone to punch it in the end zone, to stall and have to settle for field goals. As much as it is good to make them for Casey, and he made a great one today from 49 yards, the ones that you get inside the 20, you need to knock them in and score touchdowns.”

Da’Norris Searcy, UNC safety, on his role in Spencer’s touchdown
“When I reached up, I saw his hands trying to close on it, and I just knocked it away from him. When I saw the different-colored gloves, I just knocked it away from him.”

“Once I got up, I was asking, ‘What happened? What happened?’ And somebody was like, ‘He caught it.’ And I was like, ‘Who? Not the man I was on.'”

“It changed it big because that was fourth down, and if we’d stopped them right there, we’d have gotten them off the field.”

Deunta Williams, UNC safety, on what N.C. State’s game
“Russell, he’s dangerous with his legs, but he’s extremely accurate when he’s running the ball. We wanted to make him throw out of the whip, because he’s a short quarterback as well, and we figured that that would get some of the accuracy he had.”

We were playing so well in the pass, I thought, that they wanted to try to run it, and when they found out we didn’t have an edge on the football, they kept exploiting it.”

Pressley Baird, a senior from Mebane, N.C., is a multimedia journalist for The Reese Felts Digital News Project.

Andrew Dye, a senior from Cary, N.C., is a multimedia journalist for the Reese Felts Digital News Project.