You’ve got options: Now get out and vote

Now, more than ever, we have a duty to exercise this most basic right.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. contended that civic right No. 1 was the right to vote. Now, more than ever, we have a duty to exercise this most basic right.

The issues facing young students are numerous and potentially frightening. Tuition has risen over 50 percent in the last five years at the University. More and more students are unable to pursue their dreams of higher education. Those who make it through college aren’t faring better: The average Minnesotan graduates $19,700 in debt. Health care is nearly unattainable for young people, and affordable housing is in short supply. Students shy away from their dream jobs, such as teaching or serving the public sector, because they fear not making ends meet. We are supposed to be the generation of hope and discovery, but we have become the generation of debt and working poverty.

Your vote will make the difference. Tight races, such as the gubernatorial race, are hoping to do well on college campuses in order to win. If students turn out in large numbers and are the deciding factor in any race, we will have a major bargaining chip during the legislative session. We can keep tuition low. We can protect the State Grant. We can make higher education a top priority. But, first, we have to make our voices heard in the voting booth.

Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow. Minnesota has same day registration, so if you show up with a valid ID you can vote without previously registering. Bring as many friends as possible – even if they don’t agree with you politically, they should exercise their fundamental right.

No matter your motivation, you should vote. Whether it’s for free Chipotle, a sense of civic pride and duty, or the potential for a better University of Minnesota, voting is one of the most important things we can do as students. Set 15 minutes of your day aside tomorrow so that you have time to vote. Being uninformed is not an excuse. There are many places to educate yourself. Minnesota Public Radio is one such place to do so: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/politics/

Also, voting could not be easier for students. Those who live in the twelve residence halls across campus simply need to bring their U Cards with them to the polls. Those who don’t live in University housing can easily bring a U Card or other photo identification and a recent utility bill. These documents alone allow you to vote. If you live in an apartment building and don’t have any sort of utility bill, just get a voucher to go to the polls with you. They can say that they know you and you will be eligible to vote. The Minnesota Student Association has a phone number you can contact on Tuesday if you have questions about voters rights: (612) 242-1094.

Here are some of the polling places around campus:

If you live in Superblock, which includes Centennial, Frontier, Pioneer and Territorial, vote at the Grace University Lutheran Church on the corner of Harvard and Delaware.

If you live in Comstock, Yudof, Sanford, Roy Wilkins and Keeler apartments, vote at Coffman Union.

If you live in Middlebrook, vote at Seward Towers East on Franklin Avenue. Shuttles will be available.

If you live in Bailey Hall, Vote at the Falcon Heights City Hall.

If you live in University Village, University Commons, U Flats or Melrose, vote at the Sidney Pratt School on Malcolm Avenue.

If you live in Seven Corners or the GrandMarc, vote at Seven Corners apartments.

If you want more information about where and how to vote, go to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Web site: http://www.sos.state.mn.us

Max Page is the MSA president.
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