Letter: UMass College Democrats urge you to vote on Tuesday

Students are directly impacted by Amherst decisions

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Letter: UMass College Democrats urge you to vote on Tuesday

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

By Opinion and Editorial Staff

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To help get out the student vote, the UMass College Democrats and the John Page for Town Council campaign are offering all registered voters in Amherst, especially students, rides to the polls on election day via this link on our Facebook page. As the Nov. 6 election looms closer, it is crucial the students of the University of Massachusetts come to terms with the immense power and choices they have in this election.

In Massachusetts, we have a choice for whom we want to represent us in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, Governor and state level elected officials as well as crucial ballot initiatives. Our region has experienced massive political change, partly due to the resignation of our State Senator Stan Rosenberg, who wielded a massive amount of power as president of the Massachusetts State Senate. In addition to the importance of state and federal elections, students in Amherst have a huge impact on the town elections this year after Amherst voted to remove the town meeting and replace it with town council. This election is so crucial because the first town council will set precedent for years to come.

As students, we are directly impacted by decisions made in the town of Amherst, such as decisions on housing, regulations on noise and ways to spur new development that is accessible to students. A key way to make sure our voices are heard and to set a meaningful precedent is to elect a student to town council this inaugural term. We hope students continue to see the impact of their vote and continue to act on it. We have seen this energy as a club. We have helped register close to 100 people to vote in the town of Amherst. In addition to expanding the local electorate, we have seen close to 500 students request absentee ballots for over a dozen states. The Town of Amherst ran early voting on campus in the student union for three days in October. During the hours the polling place was open, the energy and enthusiasm were palpable, which allowed students to cast over 700 ballots from UMass alone.

As young adults, we are part of a large voter block, yet we act like we have no political sway. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 38 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the 2012 Presidential Election. As a generation, we have the power to shape any election in the country, especially local elections in the town of Amherst. Let’s change that number this year and let our voices be heard. Students often are vilified by many candidates across the country. It is time to show our leaders our concerns and voices need to be heard and listened to, not scapegoated and blamed for societal problems.

Happy voting,

The UMass Democrats