Will Students vote Nov. 7

The Nov. 7 midterm election will determine future legislation and policies that could reshape American politics. “For Vermont’s lone Congressional seat, the race is neck in neck between the Democrat, Peter Welch, and the Republican, Martha Rainville, which is incredible considering how liberal Vermont is,” said Alex Friendly, a UVM senior who also works at the Vermont Democratic Party Headquarters. “In this election so much is at stake, the Congress influences the White House and all issues need to be debated – war, college loans etc.,” said Madeleine Kunin, former Governor of Vermont and current professor in the Political Science department at UVM. “Students can really determine the election if they vote in full force.” According to The US Census Bureau only 47 percent of 18 to 24 year olds voted in the 2004 presidential election. This was the lowest voter turn out of any sub group. “It is sad, these are the voters who are most at stake, they are going to live with these decisions for the rest of their lives,” Kunin said. “What concerns me most is that students tune out what is going on in the world,” she said. “Compared to the student movements in the 1960s the activists actually did something, we just don’t care,” Friendly said. “If your parents pay for everything then why do you care about the rising health care costs or tuition costs?” “A lot of people care about politics but still didn’t vote,” said Dan Passios, a UVM junior who didn’t vote in the 2004 election. “We are still kids, still young, no one pays taxes yet but once I graduate everything’s on me… it’s my life now.” “I got an absentee ballot but lost it and when I found it, it was too late,” Passios said. “I didn’t think it mattered, but now Bush is our president.” “A lot of students are just lazy,” UVM Junior Jamie Hoffberger said. “Where do you even go to vote?” Friendly is registering voters until Oct. 30 at the Town Clerk’s office at the intersection of Main and Church streets. “Beginning Oct. 10 people can vote early by going down to town hall,” Friendly said. Out of state voters can request absentee ballots online. “Students make up a quarter of the population of Burlington,” Friendly said. “We have a lot of power.” Student political activists are visible at UVM in small numbers. “It is effective to have students out in front of the library that really care about the issues,” said Hoffberger. “It is traditionally young people who are leaders of causes,” Kunin said, “If you are not an activist when you are young, you will never be.” “This election really matters. If Democrats win back the House, we can finally hold this administration and the Republican rubber-stamp Congress responsible for all the harm it has inflicted upon our country, and to our image around the world,” Friendly said. “People need to get out and vote,” Passios said, “Now that I think about it I should have voted. If everybody does something it has to eventually change.”