Americans will head to the polls to elect a new president on Nov. 2. Eighteen to 25-year-olds have the opportunity to be an influential voting bloc in this year’s election, but many choose not to vote because they feel that this election will not affect them. It will. Below are several reasons why Eastman students should vote.1. It’s easy. Registering to vote is as easy as checking your e-mail. Many organizations such as Declare Yourself and Rock the Vote offer online voter registration tools that allow users to type in some information and print out a completed form. If doing it online isn’t your thing, voter registration forms are available at the post office in Midtown Mall and at all other post offices around the country. Just fill out the form and drop it in the mail.Getting to the polls is even easier than registering. Eighteen-year-old United States citizens who are residents of Rochester 30 days prior to the election – basically any student living in the dorms or an apartment – can register to vote in Rochester. The polling place for students living in the Student Living Center is at the YMCA, making the distance to your polling place shorter than the distance to class.2. The economy. Finding a job after graduation is extremely difficult, especially when you’re looking for a job in the selective field of music. When the economy is bad, people do not have money to spend on the arts. When people do not spend money on the arts, orchestras and other musical organizations cannot afford to operate. When these organizations cannot afford to operate, there are no jobs for you.3. Funding for the arts. The National Endowment for the Arts is the largest annual provider of arts funding in the United States. It is the official arts organization of the United States. It provides grants to individual artists and arts agencies. At the beginning of this year, President George W. Bush requested $18 million for the NEA. Is that really enough, or is it too much? Arts funding directly affects Eastman students. In November it will be up to you to decide which candidate funds arts the way you want them to be funded.4. Censorship. In Nazi-occupied countries during the World War Two, the music of “degenerate” artists was banned. Some of this music included jazz, music by Jewish composers and atonal music. To us, this censorship seems extreme, but censorship is still a relevant issue in arts. Have you ever written or performed a controversial piece of music? What if the school said that students were only allowed to perform American music, or music without any political themes? The constitution guarantees us freedom of expression, but it is up to the Supreme Court to interpret the constitution. The next president will appoint as many as three justices to the Supreme Court. The kind of president you elect will determine the kind of judges he appoints. These judges will make decisions regarding your rights concerning freedom of expression. 5. Healthcare. Ouch, what’s that persistent pain in your wrist? Have you been practicing too long again? It’s a good thing that the University provides low cost healthcare for all full-time students. In addition, many insurance companies allow students to remain on their parents’ plans as long as they are being supported by their parents. But what happens after graduation? A great number of 18 to 25-year-olds find themselves in the “healthcare gap.” That is the period of time between being covered on their parents’ or university’s insurance and paying for their own. Healthcare is very expensive. What happens when your livelihood depends on your physical health and you have no health insurances? Do you want the government to subsidize your health insurance? Do you want healthcare to be nationalized? Because it affects so many people, healthcare is a huge issue in this year’s election. 6. Education. In case you haven’t noticed, college is very expensive and the costs keep rising. Many students take out federal loans to pay for their college educations. Many Eastman students go on to pursue advanced degrees. The cost adds up. The government offers financial assistance through the military and loans, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Many people do not attend college because they simply cannot afford it. Eastman students are attending college, but what happens in four years when you graduate? Will you be able to pay off your loans? Will you be able to afford graduate school?If those reasons weren’t enough to persuade you to vote, this year’s election is addressing many other issues that affect your life. To find out about these issues and where each candidate stands, visit http://www.vote-smart.org. The deadline to register to vote in New York is Oct. 13. For information regarding other states and obtaining an absentee ballot, please call your local board of elections.Gorode can be reached email@example.com.
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