Ignoring the election

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November 5, 2010

12:27 AM

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or disconnected from your smart phone, you’ve probably been following the national midterm elections this past Tuesday in which Democratic congressional and gubernatorial candidates were alternately battered and “shellacked” by their Republican adversaries. All varnishes aside, there seems to be a larger conclusion drawn from the election’s results: Although turnout was high in some, mainly urban, areas of the country, turnout in Williamsburg was significantly lower than in past elections.

This result was far from unexpected. A total of 1,908 votes were cast in the Williamsburg City precinct, nearly half as were cast in last semester’s city council election. Obviously, the exact number of student voters is not made public, but it is safe to assume that students shared at least a part of this general lack of enthusiasm.

In fact, a general air of indifference may have been contagious. Although, as in previous elections, the Student Assembly ran vans shuttling student voters to the polls, this year’s program, compared to the wide publicity of presidential and city council elections, was severely under publicized, with only a single e-mail sent to the student body half an hour before the shuttle service started.

This should not be the case. The SA has a responsibility to make sure that, when it allocates student funds to any activity, as many students are made aware of that service as possible. Instead, the lack of publicity fed into an assumption that this election was somehow less important, an assumption we as a student body ought to try to counteract, not implicitly support. If the SA decided such an initiative was worth the same amount of student funding as were previous elections, it only follows that the initiative deserved an equal amount of campus publicity.

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