Well, we’ve finally made it. After a particularly intense campaign season, Election Day has finally arrived. Now it’s time to see what all the debates, commercials, yard signs and poll numbers amount to.
Many people have speculated what the key to success will be for the election. I believe that above all, voter turnout for each party will decide who wins today.
As of a few weeks ago, the registered Republicans in Larimer County outnumber Democrats with roughly 74,000 voters to the Democrats’ 51,000. Then there are the unaffiliated voters who fall right between at 67,000.
Statewide, Republicans hold the majority with a margin of about a 150,000 with the undecided splitting the difference. So why is the turnout so important this year? The common thought is that there may be many Republicans who will intentionally not vote today. Some point to various scandals and the situation in Iraq that might make them hesitant to vote for Republicans, and they would rather not vote than vote for Democrats. On the other hand, Democrats are believed to be energized by roughly the same reasons.
In recent weeks, Republican leaders have been trying to find the best way to get their base of voters out to the polls.
Well, ask and you shall receive. Enter the Republican Party’s new best friend, John Kerry. In case you didn’t hear, last week Kerry had some choice words about the intelligence of our military personnel.
At a rally in California, the senator said: “You know, education, if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you – you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”
Needless to say, there were about 140,000 people in Iraq who were less than happy with the senator from Massachusetts. The way I see it, Kerry has really stepped up his game. Now he’s trying to lose elections he’s not even in. I’m not complaining because that beautiful quote could be the one thing that could get every Republican into the voting booths. We’ll see.
With all the hot topics on the ballot, I have to stress once again how important it is to vote. In our last midterm election in 2002, only 70 percent of Americans who registered to vote actually voted. Even worse, only 45 percent of the registered voters in our age group did. As the saying goes: “If you don’t vote, who are you really voting for?” So if you are registered to vote and you haven’t, please take the time to do so today. You might even be lucky enough to get an “I Voted” sticker.
Finally, I thought I would remind you that as we bid the 2006 election season farewell today, we welcome the 2008 race for the presidency. I know it’s early, but just watch the election coverage tonight and you will see the shifting focus to who will lead the country in two years. If all goes according to my magnificent plan, President Gingrich will be sworn into office in just more than two years – get ready. But in the meantime, vote early and vote often. Happy Election Day.
Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears every Tuesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.