Editorial Notebook

Stressing the importance of your civic participation

The race for the Presidency of the United States is certainly the number one topic on most people’s minds right now. At this point, the race is still open and it is still a competition to see who will have enough delegates to become the nominees of either party. The winner of the election stands to become one of the most powerful people in the world. In fact, the President is one of the few true movers and shakers of the world whose legacy will be felt a long time into the future. Suffice it to say, the U.S. Presidential election is the most important aspect of the political process that most Americans will ever have the chance to participate in. Despite the fact that the President is not directly elected by popular vote, but rather by the Electoral College, the votes of the people strongly influence how that process plays out.

With this in mind, it is important to make sure that you are able to vote and have your voice heard in the process of electing a leader of the free world. The vast majority of students here are over 18, meaning that they are eligible to register to vote. Yes, before you can vote in any election, you have to register first. You can either register to vote at your home address, or you can register to vote using your RPI address right here in Troy, N.Y. However, you can only register to vote in one place. Registering in a new place will, in most cases, automatically revoke your old voter registration. One thing to watch out for is the fact that New York’s primaries are closed, meaning that you have to be a registered member of the political party in order to participate in them. For example, a registered Democrat would only be able to cast a Democratic ballot. However, this restriction does not apply for the general election because it is only one ballot for all candidates.

After you have registered to vote, you need to decide which candidate you actually want to vote for before the day of the primary comes. I am not going to share who I voted for in the Massachusetts primary, or attempt to sway you in any particular way towards voting for a particular party candidate; this is a personal decision that is best reached by doing a bit of research into all of the candidates from both parties. It is far too easy to get caught up in the latest sound bite that makes the primetime news, but that is no way to choose which candidate you are going to vote for. You always have to keep in mind the inherent biases (one way or the other) of the people who report on the sound bites. Instead, I would recommend looking into the platform and policy of each candidate and choosing the one that you think will have the most positive impact on the future of America. After all, there will be many important trailblazing decisions to be made in the next four years, and it is important that a responsible, trustworthy President is at the helm guiding the ship.