Every four years the world holds its breath, fearing the outcome of the most powerful nation’s decision – who will be commander-in-chief? This year will be no different. If anything, this year’s Nov. 2 will be watched even more closely than ever.
This election is seen as a pivotal moment in our nation’s foreign policy. Has President George W. Bush sufficiently fulfilled his duty as a representative of the people and as a holder of the nation’s highest office to deserve a second term?
Or are the American people ready for new leadership in the hands of Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry, Reform Party candidate Ralph Nader or any of the other third party candidates?
Without delving into the politics of the campaigns, it suffices to say that UR students hold a special responsibility in this process. For many, this is the first presidential election in which we can vote.
It is a fairly acknowledged fact that our campus has a reputation for apathy in all things. But let us turn that around this year, starting with the exercise of our most important civic duty: to vote.
When that special age of 18 was reached, we gained more than just the ability to buy cigarettes, lotto tickets or porn. We gained a voice that can change the nation.
Many decide not to vote, believing their vote does not count. The government does not care about young people, so why should I bother voting? And yet a quick glance at voting figures can explain why.
According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement in the 2000 elections, only 42 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds voted. CIRCLE also states that between 1972 and 2000, there has been a decline of 13 percent in the voter turnout rate for 18 to 24-year- olds. We need to stop that trend. Register to vote now. It is much easier than you would think.
Go turn on a computer, type in www.rockthevote.org, click on “register to vote,” choose your state and you’re on your way.
It is important to remember that you can choose to register in your home state or in the state of New York. From your home state, you would need to fill out an absentee ballot request form.
Since presidential races are decided by the Electoral College, which state you register to vote in could significantly alter the final decision.
If you are from the pivotal states of Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania, you should especially consider casting an absentee ballot versus registering and voting in New York.
Just remember, if you forget to vote, you have to live with that mistake for the next four years. Can you wait that long to correct that mistake?
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.