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Opinion

I'm a young, Mormon woman from a swing state. Here's why I'm an undecided voter.

My state of limbo has less to do with Mitt Romney's and President Obama's political platforms and more with the growing distance and animosity between their two parties. These two campaigns have spent millions on defamation rather than educating voters about the issues.

By Crystal Trejo / October 29, 2012

Mitt Romney and President Obama wave to the audience during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, Oct. 3. Op-ed contributor and undecided voter Crystal Trejo writes: 'The president will not be the person to single-handedly solve our wide array of domestic issues….[T]hese areas are ones that all of us...must take on. That responsibility may begin with casting a single vote, but....What we do each day to improve our communities is what will spur America’s recovery – and progress.'

Charlie Neibergall/AP/file

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Cambridge, Mass.

I am a young woman, and a first-time voter this year from Arizona, recently known as a hotbed for extreme conservative policies but identified as a swing state in this election. However, for the past four years I’ve watched Arizona politics from the sidelines as I’ve been away at a notoriously liberal school in the northeast. To make my vote really count, though, I’ll be voting in Arizona.

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The problem is, I’m undecided. I don’t yet know if I should vote for President Obama or Mitt Romney.

To complicate my situation further, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fellow Mormon Mr. Romney has been careful in how he mentions Mormonism and has developed the generic Christian rhetoric that most presidential candidates acquire, but his religion is still on my mind and likely the minds of other Mormons and non-Mormons alike.

Almost all my friends at school in Massachusetts would scoff if they knew I am actually considering voting for Romney, except my group of 30 Mormon friends who seem to be split about fifty-fifty. The sizable group of Romney interns sitting in my congregation, many fresh in from Brigham Young University to work for his national campaign headquartered in Boston, would be astonished if they knew that the girl in the pew next to them might not vote for Mitt.

Hence, I am feeling just a little tense about this election, almost like I am being cornered into choosing which parts of my identity I value. I have tried to counter any proclivity for simply deciding my vote based on which candidate I most identify with by staying very informed. I am reading the news more than ever, watched all the debates, and I even study political science, so I feel like I should have an objective idea of who would be better to lead our country for the next four years.

But honestly, I haven’t yet come to a decision. I am in the position of perennial devil’s advocate, defending the counterbalancing influences in my life against each other. You can imagine that this has worked wonders for my popularity. When my Harvard friends begin slamming Romney, I cut in to remind them of Mr. Obama’s own failures in creating real reform in immigration, the economic renewal he promised, and compromise in Washington. “Another conservative Mormon Romney lover,” they surely think to themselves.

My family, on the other hand, thinks I’ve been lost to the liberal leanings of college. Little do they know my vehement arguments against Romney (out of touch, flip-flopper on most important issues, heartless aristocrat), could all be countered by my own disappointments with Obama.

I guess I’ve positioned myself here in undecided voter limbo because what I’ve found to be most frustrating about the election, and the last four years, are not the individual positions of the candidates or their parties, but the growing distance and animosity between them.

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