Today is the day. Today, you can stop
worrying about being harassed with political fliers and stickers on
the Diag; today, you will stop incessantly hearing and seeing the
words “November 2;” today, you will have one last
chance to participate in a momentous election. Today, as 18 months
of campaigning draw to a close, the most important thing that you
can do is get out there and vote.
The outcome of this presidential election is critical for the
future of the country and the stakes transcend mere policy changes.
This nation is faced with two candidates that represent drastically
different ideologies and vastly different visions for what the
government’s role at home and America’s role in the
world should be. Voters today will be casting ballots that will
influence this nation’s foreign policy, national security
priorities, domestic economic agenda and national health care
situation. Our generation of young voters has as great a stake in
many of these issues as older, more politically active generations.
It is vital that our voice is not forgotten.
Today’s election is so highly contested that parties have
put an unprecedented amount of money and effort into “poll
watching.” It is important that you understand your rights as
you prepare to cast your ballot. You should not feel intimidated in
any way, whether is be from someone standing outside the polls or a
volunteer working inside the polls. Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE if you
experience or witness a voting emergency; lawyers will be available
to provide free and immediate assistance. Such emergencies may
include anyone asking you about your criminal record, forcing some
voters to show identification or denying you the opportunity to
If you are unsure of your polling place, it is located on your
voter registration card. If you have misplaced your registration
card, do not worry. You may find your polling location by
consulting www.publius.org, a credible, nonpartisan site run in
conjunction with the Michigan secretary of state. Furthermore, your
registration card is a formality — you do not need to show it
in order to vote. In fact, unless you are a first-time voter,
identification is not required by Michigan law. All that you need
to bring to the polls is yourself; the precinct workers should have
a list of registered voters. If you are a first-time voter who
registered by mail, however, you must bring government-issued
identification to your polling site.
You are free to take materials into the polling booth with you.
Feel free to bring in a piece of paper with your intended votes if
you think that you may forget how you intend to vote on the entire
ballot. If someone attempts to bar you from taking information into
the polling booth, notify an election worker. Additionally, voting
locations within the state of Michigan are open from 7 a.m. to 8
p.m. As long as you are in line before 8 p.m., you have the right
to vote, no matter how long it takes.
Today, let us debunk the statistics that indicate election
participation rates are the lowest for people between ages 18 and
24. This election could be the largest political event of your
lifetime. The decisions that we as a nation make today will affect
the country long after the ballots are counted. Get out there today
and make your voice heard.