Students have responsibility to protect democracy by voting

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It’s that time of year again, when the donkeys and elephants are done hibernating and have joined together once again to co-host America’s favorite traveling circus – the presidential election.

Millions of Americans did not sacrifice their lives for the sake of public complacency. Participating in democracy is one of the ways we can continue to protect it.

This year’s election marks the time when many Elon students will be able to vote for the first, and hopefully not the last, time.

It is very easy to feel disillusioned about democracy. Many say the Electoral College places more importance in where you live than what you believe. Some are not willing to wait hours to vote for whomever they believe is the lesser of the two nominated evils. And, of course, even if you clone yourself multiple times, you still have less influence than the folks who watch “16 and Pregnant.”

It is still our duty to vote. Millions of Americans did not sacrifice their lives for the sake of public complacency. Participating in democracy is one of the ways we can continue to protect it.

But even if you show up, your vote is just a mere roll of the dice if you lack any real knowledge on the issues. Too many people simply regurgitate what they’ve heard from their families, friends and television. An educated citizenry is a vital prerequisite for our survival as a free people, Thomas Jefferson once said.

And yet, today it is impossible to gain working knowledge on every issue. There are probably some judges who don’t know which judges to vote for. It is only your duty to make an effort and you can always skip what you don’t feel comfortable choosing. Minor parties have something to offer. The Republican Party was once a third party, while the Democratic Party, at one point, did not even exist.

Having said this, there should not be anyone surprised as to the origins of the Tea Party and Occupy movements. Both are disillusioned with the current practices of our media-driven two-party tennis match, and thus seek alternative outlets for expression. Without movements such as these, our political IQ is entirely contingent on sound bites taken out of context and the commentary of celebrities speaking on subjects they are usually unqualified to even spell.

Voter turnout in the 2008 presidential election was actually the highest since 1968. It has never been an issue of whether Americans will line up at the polls. The issue is whether our country will one day actually reflect the stagnant conversation it is currently producing.

When it comes to democracy, you get what you give. Unless our generation exerts its brainpower and does the necessary research, our republic will remain what many see it as today: a coin-flip between two rich men patronizing our uneducated citizenry. A no-show is a vote for the status quo.

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  • Pingback: Students have responsibility to protect democracy by voting. « John Tinkelenberg()

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    Presidential elections don’t have to be this way.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states, like Florida, where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states — including 19 of the 22 smallest states and New York, Texas, and California — that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the primaries.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    A survey of North Carolina voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 75% among liberal Democrats (representing 13% of respondents), 78% among moderate Democrats (representing 24% of respondents), 76% among conservative Democrats (representing 11% of respondents), 89% among liberal Republicans (representing 3% of respondents), 62% among moderate Republicans (representing 16% of respondents), 70% among conservative Republicans representing 21% of respondents), and 80% among independents (representing 12% of respondents).
    By age, support was 69% among 18-29 year olds, 71% among 30-45 year olds, 77% among 46-65 year olds, and 72% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 81% among women and 65% among men.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    NationalPopularVote
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