We’ve all been hearing constant updates about the voter registration efforts on campus. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot less coverage of the issues on which we’re supposed to be voting. As the election nears, I’ve noticed more and more groups that focus on a single issue fighting to make their voices heard on campus. These groups don’t just aim to get students to vote, they get students to vote based on a specific issue. But as we come closer and closer to the election, students should be focusing on all the issues, not just one they consider most important.

Many of these single-issue groups are genuinely bipartisan and simply ask students to vote be single minded with their vote. Power Vote, for example, is an organization that wants students to vote for whomever they feel will promote the best energy and climate policies. Most other groups, however, take a definitive stand on an issue. Students for Proposal One has taken a firm stance on the legalization of medical marijuana — beyond just wanting students to care about this issue, they want students to vote in favor of it.

While individual issues like ballot proposals are important, no one should be voting for a candidate based on an individual issue alone. This election involves a host of candidates and dozens of issues — from taxes and health care to alternative energy and the war in Iraq. Mentally blocking out the other issues after deciding on just one is illogical. The other issues are still important and relevant to our lives. We all listen to other bands besides our favorite — we shouldn’t hold ourselves to different standards on election issues just because it’s more convenient.

Maybe that’s why single-issue voting is so popular: It’s the easy way out. Voters don’t have to think about how other issues will affect their lives if they make up their minds based on one stance. They simply have to decide which candidate they agree with on the “most important” issue. Having to weigh the nuances of candidates’ opinions may be difficult, but it is necessary in order to fully understand who and what we are voting for. By going through this process, voters aren’t just paying better attention to the issues, but also more attention to the candidates.

There are lots of groups on campus that try to educate students on the issues. However, there is a difference between talking about an issue and trying to get students to forget about everything other than that issue. Most of these groups, whether intentionally or not, are continuing the cycle of single-issue voting. There is a lasting mentality that accompanies such a voting process. Political groups can avoid encouraging single-issue voting by providing unbiased information about a topic rather than telling students for whom they should vote.

The University strives to create well-rounded students. That doesn’t just mean taking an art class and a math class. This extends to caring about all the issues in the election, even the ones that aren’t getting constant attention from campus political groups. Being a well-informed voter means carefully considering all the fine points of a candidate’s platform. Every election issue might not apply to today’s college student. But ignoring them now puts us in a single-issue state of mind that will impact our future successes.

Shannon Kellman is an LSA senior.

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