The end of election mania

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November 4, 2008

12:36 AM

Right now, you’re probably sitting over some casserole in the Caf, your noodle-laden fork suspended between plate and mouth. Here at least, you thought you were safe from the sign-waving, sandwich-board-wearing voter-turnout machine. Our apologies. We hate to disappoint. But if you haven’t voted already, you should. Several hours remain.

Almost every estimate shows that turnout for this year’s election will shatter records. Virginia alone has registered 400,000 new voters, the largest jump in its history.

Voting rolls here in Williamsburg exploded in the last year after new rules allowed students to register. More than 1,700 of them did so, and according to the front page poll in today’s issue, about 95 percent of students have already voted or will vote today. That’s astonishingly high, but maybe we should have expected it for this election.

We also appreciate the hard work of our Student Assembly to make it as easy as possible for students to both register and vote. Many of them are working long hours today at the polls. We thank them for their exhaustive efforts to make voting in Williamsburg not just possible but mindlessly easy. Their coordination of transportation between the polls and various locations on campus provides countless options.
Students have no excuse not to vote.

Around the country, the story is much the same, contributing to a climate of electric enthusiasm a notch above the typical election fever. Something has voters all a-roil, and it’s difficult to place a name to it. Election mania, perhaps. An election frenzy? Whatever you call it, we can say without fear of hyperbole that the entire world waits to see how it will end. Tonight.

We invite you to call up some friends, flip on the TV and watch history unfold. The latest poll data indicates that Sen. Barack Obama will become the 44th president of the United States, the first black man to do so. Wolf Blitzer and the rest of the gang likely will remind us of that tonight, but it’s worth remembering just what an accomplishment it is.

Moreover, after twice handing George W. Bush the presidency with little or no effort on his part, Virginia has a good chance to go blue for the first time since 1964 — just a year before Congress passed the Voting Rights Act to end discrimination at the polls. Regardless of which candidate ends up taking Virginia’s 13 electoral votes, it’s great to see our great state matter again in a presidential election.

So tonight’s the night: a welcome conclusion to two long years of campaigning, a conclusion likely to make history.

We hope you’ve voted and made yourself a part of it. And yes, you can go back to your casserole now.

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