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COLUMN

You Have the Power

Jyoti Tibrewala

The 2000 presidential campaign seems like it has been going on forever. But, impossible as it may seem, it’ll all be over next week. That’s right; Election Day is coming. For all you eligible voters out there, I have one question: are you going to vote?

According to the Shorenstein Center at Harvard, only one in five voters is actually expected to exercise his or her right. Come next Tuesday, most of the voting public will presumably be engaged in any of a multitude of activities but going to the polls. That’s a pretty sad turnout, if you think about it. College-aged voters have a similar voting pattern. No wonder youth gets such a bad rap. This statistic should make all eligible youths flock to the polls, but it doesn’t seem to have been able to achieve the desired effect.

People are constantly complaining about the state of affairs. But if they don’t vote, they won’t be able to make their voice heard and potentially change the system. There are at least two hundred million eligible voters in the United States. That makes twenty-percent voter turnout come out to the order of 40 million. One hundred and sixty million people aren’t voting, aren’t making their voices heard, and the majority of them most likely have complaints with the current state of affairs as well.

You have the power to change the way things are done. Someone believes that you are capable of making an intelligent decision in choosing a leader. They’ve even let you take an open-book quiz -- the campaigns and the debates -- so you can decide which candidate best represents your ideals, and someone is giving you the chance to make that decision. If you don’t take advantage of this wonderful opportunity that has been bestowed upon you, then you have no right to complain.

So take advantage of your right to vote and make time to go to the polls, because there are thousands (probably even millions) of people who wish they were in your shoes. There are thousands of people who, if granted suffrage this very moment, would be sure to be at the very front of the line at the voting booths next Tuesday.