Candidates face-off in today’s election

The polls are open in the state of Minnesota from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

After months of political advertisements, candidate visits and voter-registration drives, the battle for Minnesota comes to an end today.

Across the country, Americans will go to the polls to cast votes for their president, congressional representatives, state legislators and other offices. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

But unlike most states, Minnesota is among six that allow same-day voter registration. Students who have not prezregistered can bring photo identification and proof of residency to the polls.

Even out-of-state students who have not sent in absentee ballots can register to vote in Minnesota, said Jamie Proulx, spokeswoman for the University.

Students registering to vote in Minnesota will not lose reciprocity privileges, she said, because the Higher Education Act has provisions to prevent that from happening.

U officials urge voting

University officials and student leaders said voting should be a priority for all students.

The University has a great stake in this election, University President Bob Bruininks said in a statement.

The State Legislature will debate the University’s biennial budget and capital request, and the federal government will take up the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, he said.

“It’s an important civic duty and, as we witnessed in the 2000 election, each person’s vote makes a difference,” he said.

Tom Zearley, Minnesota Student Association president, said voting provides students with the opportunity to be contributing members of society.

“This is still a people’s republic,” he said. “If our leaders are doing something we don’t like, we should let them know.”

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said it’s important for students to be informed on the candidates.

“One of the wonderful things about this country is that we have the right to vote,” he said. “So we should exercise our right to vote.”

Abu Jalal, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, said that students should vote because whoever is chosen to be president will decide economic policy.

“Students are the ones who will end up paying off those debts,” he said. “If students don’t vote, they will not be heard.”

Emily Souza, co-chairwoman of the Queer Student Cultural Center, said voting is part of being an American.

Although long lines at the polling locations are expected, Souza said students can stand in line for one day out of the entire year.

Jake Grassel, chairman of the state College Republicans, said young people have an obligation to shape the future because today’s students will be the future one day.

“Our classmates are fighting to protect the freedom to vote,” he said. “We should give them thanks by going out and expressing the freedom.”

Chris Montana, chairman of the College Democrats of Minnesota, said voting could prevent tuition prices from increasing.

“If we ever want our issues to be addressed, we have to go out and vote,” he said.