Artsweek correspondent Harrison Coltun got the chance to ask the “Activote!” moderators some of the tough questions about next week’s elections and politics today.

Artsweek: Is the student vote as big as a factor as people make it out to be?

Hatem: One extra vote is as important as 10 or 20 million. You have to make the decision to come out and vote. Yes, it is critical that everyone comes out to vote.

What do you have to say to people who have the “anyone but Bush” mentality when it comes to voting?

Hatem: I think in politics you reward your friends when you punish your enemies. The right wing was motivated by being anti-Clinton.
Jeff: I think that if people are dissatisfied with policies both foreign and domestic that they should be motivated to go make a change.
Marissa: It is subjective to whatever turns them on. Personally I don’t like negativity.
Malia: I think that Bush deserves all the anti-Bush sentiment that he gets. Kerry is very lucky. He has a campaign, which is much more about hope.

What is one thing that the next president needs to address immediately?

Marissa: More money for education.
Malia: Public healthcare.
Hatem: The future plan for Iraq.

Do you think that Kerry has presented an image of himself strong enough to beat George Bush?

Hatem: I forgot my crystal ball in Berkeley. Anyone at anytime can be beaten: He is not a unique individual.
Marissa: Yes, definitely, completely. He is going down. There are so many people who are vocal that hate him. I think he is going down. I am glad to be a part of it.
Malia: He is going down just like St. Louis!
Jeff: I don’t know. I am not sure. I have to be honest; I could see Bush pulling it out with a lot of shenanigans.