Staff Editorial – Student turnout crucial

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April 22, 2008

3:04 AM

Across the globe, enfranchisement has marked seminal moments in a people’s history. At the College, the story is no different. In our 315-year relationship with the City of Williamsburg, few things have mattered so much as Tuesday’s elections. It’s a grandiose claim — pure hyperbole, you might think — but we hope you’ll reconsider. And more importantly, we hope you’ll vote May 6.

For too long, students lived apart from their community — separate yet not quite equal. All that changed with the ousting of former Voter Registrar Dave Andrews. Now, more than 1,000 students await the opportunity to voice their opinion on the ballot. We cannot stress enough how crucial it is that they do so. Put simply, this election will determine the future of town and gown relations. The past few months brimmed with rhetoric, but in two weeks, students must make good on it. If at this exciting moment they fall flat, candidates in the years ahead can write them off. Why court an electorate — even an electorate of over 1,000 — that doesn’t make the effort to vote?

But, if this semester has proven one thing to us, it’s that students can and will unite behind a cause they care about. We can think of few causes more worthwhile or more immediate than equal representation in the community.

Traditionally, the college demographic posts abysmal turnout figures, and the timing of this particular election has not helped our chances to do better. The May 6 date places it near the end of exams, a time when many students will have already left campus. That shouldn’t stop them from voting.

Students who can’t make it on election day because they’ve left for the summer can head to the Stryker Building (on N. Boundary Street) to cast an in-person absentee ballot. For everyone else, see you at the polls May 6.

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