Back in her school days, she looked forward to the time she could vote because it meant she would get one of those "I voted" stickers.
Ciara Hernandez, 24, takes voting more seriously now. She is reading and talking about issues, learning how to become a well-educated voter.
Like others her age, she said, she's starting to realize that decisions made at the polls have consequences.
"It's not a fun thing to do to get a sticker anymore, it's something that's going to affect the next four years of our life," she said.
Hernandez, an independent, said she hasn't decided whether she will vote in Tuesday's primary election or in the November general election. She wants to become more informed. Four years ago, she said, she voted for President Obama because he reached out to young people and she could relate to him.
"I have learned that uneducated voting can be just as un-civic as not voting at all," said Hernandez, who works for a Wichita insurance agency.
Although turnout for the primary is expected to be light, those who do plan to participate will take their votes as seriously as Hernandez. In interviews and in an Eagle query conducted with the Public Insight Network, voters cited a sense of duty, which in many cases was passed down from their parents and grandparents, as the main reason they get involved and vote.
Phil Daignault, athletic director and basketball coach at Wichita West High, said he votes out of a sense of patriotic obligation that was instilled in him by his grandfather, a World War II veteran who served on the front lines radioing German positions back to his fellow soldiers.
"If I do not vote, it insults all of the men and women that have given their lives in defense of our freedoms," said Daignault, a Republican. "I stay informed and vote as a tribute to them and those that serve now."
Some voters said this election is too important to sit out. They think the country is heading in the wrong direction. They offer opposing solutions -- one wants to oust all Democrats, another wants to oust all Republicans -- but they said that voting will give them the right to complain if things don't turn out the way they want.
Some are young voters excited about the opportunity to vote. Others are cynical about the process, but determined to vote for or against a particular candidate.
Tim Penner, 34, a stock and bond trader in Wichita, is a Republican who usually doesn't vote in presidential elections because he feels his vote doesn't count in a red state. Still, his dislike of President Obama is sending him to the polls this November, he said, knowing he can't gripe if he doesn't vote.
But he won't vote in the primary election.
"Politics in general make me sick," Penner said, "but I will vote every now and again just to feel like I'm actually having some impact. As for local elections, I never know where and when to vote, and who has the time to sift through all the bashing and negative crap out there?"
Kansas residents seem to be more inclined to vote than voters nationally. The U.S. Census Bureau, which tracks voting behavior, shows a higher percentage of Kansas adults registered and voted in the November 2010 election than adults nationwide.
Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites in Kansas registered to vote and voted at a higher percentage than their counterparts nationally, while black residents in Kansas registered and voted at a lower percentage than blacks nationally.
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