By Jamie Coughlin
Lauryn Pyke — “Tuned out”
Hometown; Pocatello, Idaho
Occupation: Graduate student
Lauryn Pyke could have made a lot of excuses for not voting. She is a full-time student and a mother who has to balance studying with taking care of her family so she has very little time to herself. She’s liberal but lives in a deep red state where one extra blue vote wouldn’t make much difference.
But Pyke’s reasoning was different. She said she didn’t vote because keeping up on politics isn’t high on her priority list. “I’m interested if I have the time. It doesn’t take precedence over everything else.”
Pyke began a master’s degree program in Physician’s Assistance this fall at Idaho State University in Pocatello, a town of 55,000 in the southeastern corner of the state.
Two small children and a fiancé round out her young family. Her fiancé is out of work; he’s only been able to find occasional part-time work for the past few years and is trying to figure out what to do next. Before Pike started graduate school and had student loans to help pay the bills, she and her family were on food stamps and Medicaid.
“The last few years have been really brutal,” Pyke said. “I can’t imagine if I wasn’t graduating as a PA how we’d make it.”
President Barack Obama captured her attention in 2008 and she was excited to vote for him. But since then she hasn’t followed his presidency closely. “I just really feel like if you don’t know what you’re voting for, you’re not up on it, it’s really hard to vote.
“It feels almost irresponsible to not know what you’re voting about and still vote.”