Voting is a right, obligation of citizens


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lauren_mug!Lauren Jung
Editor-in-Chief

While watching random videos on Youtube, I came across a “Declare Yourself” ad in which a number of Hollywood personalities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Degeneres spent the first full minute telling me, “Don’t vote.”

The real message doesn’t come across until a full minute and a half into the commercial when Halle Berry says, “Don’t vote — unless you care.”
Now there’s the right sentiment.

While watching random videos on Youtube, I came across a “Declare Yourself” ad in which a number of Hollywood personalities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Degeneres spent the first full minute telling me, “Don’t vote.”

Voting is a right, a sacred “rite” of democracy. In the words of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the U.S. government
is one “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Yet, in the 2004 presidential election, only 64 percent of the voting population 18 and older voted. With the efforts of such campaigns like “Declare Yourself,” that number is expected to increase as record numbers of people have registered for this coming election.

The way our city, our state, our country runs will be decided at the polling stations. Voters’ ballots will determine issues ranging from decriminalizing prostitutes to the continuation of single-sex marriage.

As other countries’ leaders have called for “regulated capitalism” in an attempt to salvage the receding global economy, the next president’s policies will have to the guide our crumbling domestic economy back into the green.

Voting is one way of “being heard,” but it isn’t the only one. Even though many of us are not old enough to vote, myself included,
there are still many ways we can get involved.

We can stay informed, volunteer for political campaigns and join politically-affiliated clubs like the Democratic Club or the Republican Club. We can read the newspaper and catch the occasional Colbert Report or Saturday Night Live skit as a late-night study break. We can discuss with our friends and teachers about what’s going on in the nation and around world. With the presidential election in a few short days, that’s one of the most important things we can do.

By being informed, we can start up discussions at the dinner table and perhaps influence our parents and the people around us in their votes, giving us an indirect say in how our government is headed.

Pretty soon, we’ll be in those voting booths ourselves and casting our own ballots.

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