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The Dartmouth
March 3, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Don't Forget to Vote Today

In this election year on the cusp of the 21st century, it is important for members of the Dartmouth community to vote today.

With a presidential contest that has remained essentially unchanged over the last year, voter turnout threatens to plummet to historic lows. A foreboding sign of this may have been the fact that the second televised presidential debate on Oct. 16 -- was the least watched in history.

In the last election, voter turnout -- that is, the percentage of eligible voters who went to the polls -- was 55 percent, the highest it has been since 1972.

But this year, turnout threatens to fall to a rate of participation similar to or worse than during the election between George Bush and Michael Dukakis in 1988, when only 50.2 percent of the electorate cast their ballots.

Some political pundits are predicting a turnout this year that may drop below the 50 percent mark, which would make 1996 a historic milestone -- the first year in modern American history when more than half of the American people failed to exercise their most precious right to vote.

Even if most people are resigned to the outcome of the presidential race, there is still no excuse for them not to cast their ballots and make their voices heard by participating in the democratic process.

There are many closely-watched races for seats in the House and Senate that could be almost as important as who sits in the Oval Office. Voters will determine the composition of the next Congress that will control the legislative agenda forthe next two years.

In a poll taken by The Dartmouth, students said the most important issues are education policy, abortion, taxes, the economy, affirmative action, welfare reform and the environment.

The Dartmouth community must do its best to make sure that its concerns are addressed by elected representatives and public figures.

Dartmouth students can dispel the media-concocted image of twentysomethings as an apathetic "Generation X" by voting. Banding together, they can make the politicians -- from the President, representatives, senators and governors right on down to mayors and freeholders -- work for them.

Get involved with the political process -- exercise the most precious right of the individual in a free society by voting today.