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Scripps News' Midnight Van to Georgia hears from voters in major college town

The team's final stop before arriving in Atlanta was Athens, Georgia, home of the University of Georgia.
The Midnight Van to Georgia
Posted at 11:56 AM, Jun 27, 2024

The Scripps News political team's Midnight Van to Georgia continued south, stopping at its final top swing-city contender before heading to Thursday's presidential debate in Atlanta.

On Wednesday, Scripps News' political director Andrew Rafferty, deputy political director Joe St. George and White House correspondent Serena Marshall arrived in Athens, Georgia, to figure out where voters stand ahead of Thursday's presidential debate.

While filling up at the pump en route to Athens, they ran into Emanuel Boneparte refueling his car. Even though he voted for Joe Biden in 2020, today, he is undecided.

“I’m not voting for Trump. I don’t like all the lies,” Boneparte said.

Related story: Scripps News' Midnight Van to Georgia stops in N.C. to hear from voters ahead of presidential debate

Boneparte values truth above all when selecting a president, but he wants to make sure he is knowledgeable before deciding on President Biden or an independent.

“I want to hear more. I want to understand more," he said.

Around lunchtime, the Scripps News squad pulled into the University of Georgia area, home of the Bulldogs. College kids make up most of the population and play a big role in the upcoming election.

“I am very undecided right now,” one Athens resident said.

The reason, Rafferty found, is an issue facing college towns across the country.

“I don't know how in good conscience I vote for Biden while he is supporting a genocide," the resident said.

Related story: Midnight Van to Georgia: Scripps News speaks with voters in Virginia ahead of Thursday's presidential debate

At a nearby diner, Marshall and St. George encountered that same issue on the mind of 20-year-old Luca. He considers himself an isolationist and is undecided about this election. His friends have been arrested as part of the Free Palestine movement.

“As like a progressive, it's just kind of difficult. How progressive are we getting with Biden?” Luca said.

Nathan Macktire is 21 years old but undecided for other reasons. To him, it is simply not worth the time.

“I have much better things to do than watch two old people go up there and grandstand," Macktire said.

Former President Donald Trump Trump and President Biden supporters were spotted sitting at the same table. A mother and daughter are on opposite sides for this election.

“We will agree to disagree; we still love each other," one of them said.

Ann is a Trump supporter and Ruth will vote for President Biden.

While mom and daughter may disagree on foreign policy, immigration and other issues, they both agree some civility would be nice.

“Show some goodwill in politics,” Ruth said.

Scripps News will continue to talk to people in bellwether counties this week, in places that can give major clues about who could win in November.

The debate begins Thursday at 9 p.m. ET and is expected to last 90 minutes. Scripps News will air CNN's simulcast of the debate live on-air and online