The importance of voting

By Eleanor Harte

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Tomorrow is Election Day. After all the campaigning (which seems to have lasted years), the incessant television commercials, and the people at the Dining Commons asking you for the fifteenth time if you’ve registered to vote, the day is finally here. It’s not clear what will happen tomorrow, but by the end of the night we will know who our next president is. After years of work, it all comes down to tomorrow.

I was a sophomore in high school for the last election. I remember feeling like the writers of history books were sitting with pens poised in the air, waiting for the election results to come in just like the rest of us. And it seems to be the same this year. It feels like there’s so much potential. No one knows for sure what the result will be at the end of the night. Though pollsters would like to tell you otherwise, you’re still an influence! Hopefully you’re registered to vote tomorrow (after all, you had plenty of opportunities!) and plan to. If you’re still on the fence, you should go vote. If you don’t, and the candidate you were likely to support loses, won’t you wish you had voted? Don’t let that happen! It’s better to go and give your candidate the best chance they can get.

I’ve heard people say that they aren’t going to vote because they don’t feel like their vote matters. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is more to vote on than the question of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. There’s the Massachusetts senate race (Elizabeth Warren vs. Scott Brown), which is expected to be a close race, and there are ballot initiative questions: Should car companies be forced to release manufacturing information so people can get their cars fixed anywhere? Should terminally ill people be allowed to take a prescribed pill that will lead to their death? Should sick people be allowed to purchase medical marijuana? All of these have an impact on your future. The ballot initiative questions will create new laws if they get enough votes. You’ll want to vote on those.

The candidates (especially the presidential candidates) have widely different policies regarding healthcare, marriage, the economy, and education. These will affect you, both now and in the future. If you don’t know what the candidates stand for yet, do a little bit of research. Decide who you stand with, and go to the polls to support them! No matter what you believe, it’s important to make your voice heard. Take a stand, and vote! Voting allows you to tell your elected representatives what’s important to you. It also has an almost immediate result, which can be gratifying.

Right now, no one’s quite sure what will happen. But you can influence the results by heading to the polls tomorrow. This is the first time I have been eligible to vote, and I’m excited to exercise my 19th Amendment right (the amendment that allowed women to vote) and make my voice heard! Hopefully you will too. May the best candidate win.

Eleanor Harte can be reached for comment at [email protected]