STAFF EDITORIAL: Let your voice be heard by casting a ballot
The 2008 presidential campaign has been a long one, full of moments of elation and frustration. But the most monumental moment of all comes today, Election Day.
For many college students it will be the first time they cast a vote for president. The importance of this task has been heralded by countless sources, but the job can be a daunting one, especially in a race as heated and historic as this.
We are bombarded with news of the campaign daily, whether in the form of a commercial, an article or a mass e-mail. The onslaught is dizzying, and it can be hard to separate rumor from fact. Affiliates of each party do their best to discourage opponents from casting votes, whether by speaking poorly of them or, in some cases, using scare tactics.
In Philadelphia, residents of predominantly black neighborhoods found fliers on their doorsteps informing them that they would be arrested at the polls for outstanding parking tickets, The Associated Press reported Sunday.
Across college campuses, students have been incorrectly told that they cannot register at their current residence if they are listed as a dependent on their parents’ tax returns, or that they may lose scholarship money if they change addresses.
Leader of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project Laughlin McDonald told the AP he has never seen "an election where there was more interest and more voter turnout, and more efforts to suppress registration and turnout."
The efforts are frightening, but one cannot be dismayed by them. There is a reason the significance of voting is touted left and right, and there is a reason women, blacks and 18-year olds fought for the right to do so.
Today, one must rise above the fray and vote. Do not let scare tactics, mud slinging or any person or thing discourage you. Take what is told to you with a grain of salt, and be proactive – inform yourself.
Decide which candidate is right for you and your country, and help put him in office. You will not be arrested for doing so. You will, however, be participating in one of the most significant elections our country has ever seen.