Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Almost everyone who goes to Swarthmore votes and considers himself a voter. And yet, most people who say they vote don’t exercise the right in local elections. Each year there are opportunities to vote in new mayors, city council members. The 2011 election will paint colors in smaller increments than in decisive presidential elections like we had in 2008, or in decisive midterm elections like we had in 2010. But the 2011 elections will nonetheless transform the country. Every year is a game changer, no matter whether it is on the local, state, or national level.
For those of you have already given up on the electoral process, elections, especially in off-years (aka years without congressional elections), seem insignificant. But the people who decide how to allocate the federal, state, and city dollars are important too. These are the people who decide where schools are built, which roads need repair, and which programs are funded. Electing city council members might seem tedious, but they’re part of the legislative body that proposes bills, holds votes, and passes laws under the purview of the mayor to help govern a city or town. If you are accused of a crime here in Pennsylvania State (some states appoint their judges; some elect them in partisan or nonpartisan elections) it will suddenly seem very important that you stand before a judge you may have voted for. If you went to public school, your district’s school director no doubt deserves some credit for getting you into this fine institution. Here in Delaware County (hint: that’s the county that the college and the Borough of Swarthmore sits on) there are judges, a District Attorney, school directors, auditors, constables, council members, and commissioners to elect, all of whom may mean very much more to our everyday lives than Herman Cain singing about pizza.
Thus I leave you with what various officials, a random Facebook group I googled, and Peter Gross ’13 have stated with all the pizzazz of a sound bite: oh, won’t you please “Occupy the Polls” with me.
Vote tomorrow, November 8th, from 7am-8pm at your local voting station. Regardless of your political affiliation, you too can effect change. Even in off-election years, the nation needs your support in order to make a difference on a local and national level. For information on this year’s candidates, I found this sitethe most informative.
If you are registered to vote and live on-campus, your polling station is four blocks east of Parrish at the Swarthmore-Rutledge school on 100 College Avenue past the Cunningham Fields. Make sure to bring a valid photo ID (that includes your student ID!) or a non-photo ID with your name and address. Happy voting!