Absentee ballots are all the rage this fall. Seeing flyers from countless student political organizations is commonplace. Everywhere, young people are talking politics. The politically lazy youth are a mere memory of apathetic days gone by.[rookie]
The upcoming presidential election, called the most crucial in recent years, has spurred the MSU students to make an effort to vote, despite often being far away from home. MSU students are registered, their minds are churning, and they are ready to mark their ballots come November 2.
The votes of the young adults, often thought of as easily discounted, make up one-fourth of the electorate and will be key in this election. With information and discussion all around them, students cannot ignore the nation’s issue and the implementations of policies that each candidate may put forth.
“I was raised on politics,” advertising freshman Jessica Daly said. “I was never taught to ignore the issues. Of course I’m registered to vote!”
With major concerns such as the War on Terrorism and a faulty economy looming over the heads of voters, Spartans have jumped to the forefront in taking a stand, even with splits along party lines. These splits have emphasized the importance of making educated election choices.
“The war in Iraq has made this election very important,” elementary education sophomore Colleen Menter said. “It is difficult to make a decision in favor of only one candidate though; I am for gay rights but against abortion.”
In addition to the voices of student organizations like the College Democrats and College Republicans, the onslaught of political advertisements have made it impossible for students to ignore this election. Support for all political factions, including third parties, adorn dorm doors, campus bulletin boards, outdoor flyer collages, sidewalks and off-campus lawns.
[chalk] The presidential debates allowed voters to hear first-hand where the candidates stand on a variety of issues, although the war received the most attention. Some students relied on the debates to decide whom to vote for, while others knew going into the debates whom to vote for. “I watched the first presidential debate, but not the last two,” said human biology third-year senior Pei Chen. “But I had already decided who I was voting for beforehand.”
With all of the outside media emphasis invading campus, students have jumped onto the voting bandwagon with rookie abandon. For many students, this will be their first chance to vote in a presidential election.
“This is the first election I get to vote in,” Menter said. Journalism freshman Eric Tingwall agreed: “The severe polarity of this election made me more influenced to get registered. I am very concerned with gay marriage and especially domestic issues.”
The fact that many students are removed from their hometowns, where many are registered, is only a mild concern. Voter registration forms have been passed out from high-traffic locations, like cafeterias, and have found their way underneath doors and into hands across campus. Most students were registered to vote before the deadline in early October. Solid political convictions put the youth vote in contact with the Secretary of State to make sure that registration was correct and complete. Lines wound around the Secretary of State office on Albert St. during the last days before the October registration deadline.
“Even though I had already registered in person at home, I got an absentee ballot from the city hall in East Lansing,” Tingwall said.
Student organizations have been major vehicles for political ideas and voter registration. With enough groups to cover all factions, parties and ideals, students never found themselves with a shortage of political information.
MSU students understand that this is their chance. Amidst consistent media barrages and heated political debates, they have the poise, intelligence, and dedication to stand up and be heard. In a society that discounts the youth of America as selfish and ungrateful, we, as an informed and educated student body, can actively elect our leader and be counted. We are strong. We are informed. We are ready to take it to the polls on November 2.

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