Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: No excuse not to vote

Instead of cursing the Electoral College and the snail-mail pace of absentee voting in the Internet Age, Boston University students who wanted to cast ballots in their home states but missed the voter registration deadline have one more chance to participate in the upcoming national election.
More than half of all state voter registration deadlines, including those in some of the swing-states BU students call home, have already passed, but the Bay State’s deadline looms a mere 20 days before Election Day ‘-‘- Wednesday, Oct. 15, this year. Students have the option of voting in either their home states or Massachusetts, as long as they only vote once.
Voting in Massachusetts presents students not only with an opportunity to maintain a say in the national election, but also a chance to weigh in on important local issues and pick some of the state’s federal representatives who carry Washington clout.
This year, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to decriminalize marijuana possession in the commonwealth. Ballot question No. 2, which made it to the ballot with support from Students for Sensible Drug Policy and other campus groups around the state, would replace existing criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a system of civil penalties. This ballot question affects public safety and its outcome will set a standard for drug policies on campuses. The only way to affect its outcome is to vote in Massachusetts.
By becoming politically active in a state that often sets the pace for national movements, including the push for universal healthcare and recognition of gay marriage, students in Massachusetts can make a statement about a national social issue that may not make it to the ballot in their own home states.
Some students are discouraged by the prospect of voting in a state party officials consider solidly blue. Massachusetts voters have delivered’ the Democratic Party for every national election in the last two decades. Still, unbelievable as it may seem in an election process that too-heavily focuses on only a handful of states, Massachusetts swung red in the 1980s, and George W. Bush picked up more than 1 million votes here in 2004.
Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, there is more than one race to track this fall. In order to have their own votes counted, students need only to get to their computers, the post office or a registration table by Wednesday night.

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