Know Your Stuff

Oct 162005
Authors: Ben Bleckley

This week, early voting begins at five polls in Larimer County. One polling place is even located on campus for our benefit.

In the past, students have been urged to go and vote. I've amended this message.

Please vote, but only if you know what you're talking about.

The proposed state referendums will drastically affect Colorado, whether they pass or fail. Tax issues for the City of Fort Collins will determine the extent of public projects in the following years.

What may be seen by many as a minor election year holds a decisive decision for college students.

CSU President Larry Penley warned the failure of referendums C and D would cause a 30 percent to 50 percent tuition increase. Yet a commercial for voting "no" on C and D argues that some families use their tax refund to pay for college tuition.

Whichever direction one votes, there can be clear discrepancies between what is seen on television and what informed voters know.

For example, in the 2000 Republican primary, George W. Bush ran against Arizona Senator John McCain. Commercials and media presented McCain as a "Manchurian Candidate," in reference to the 1962 film where a brainwashed Korean War veteran assassinates a candidate's political rivals.

McCain was also attacked by "push polling." In South Carolina, pollsters asked voters if they would be as likely to vote for McCain if he had fathered a black, illegitimate child. McCain had adopted a child who happened to be black. Voters let the seed of imagination planted by pollsters grow and influence their vote. He lost the Carolina primary and eventually the nomination.

So, unfortunately for college students, we have to find the time to sort out truth from fabrication when it comes to political elections.

But the stakes for many of us are high enough. A 30 percent to 50 percent tuition increase would require more student loans, longer hours at mediocre jobs, and less money to save for starting a living after graduation.

The state has published a blue book, and thirty minutes is enough time to read an analysis of referendums C and D. It can be found at:

Don't go and vote off of what you've heard from friends or your TV. Set aside some time in the next few weeks before voting to read up on the issues.

Ben Bleckley is a senior English major. His column runs every Monday in the Collegian.

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