The independent news organization of Duke University

Editorial: Vote today

Today's election is an extremely important one for both North Carolina and the nation, and voters here have the potential to significantly outcome the control of the U.S. Senate, since the race between Elizabeth Dole and Erskine Bowles is so close and control of the Senate hinges on each election.

Voting is a civic duty and voters should not ignore that duty, no matter how busy they may be today. Everyone should make an effort to get out to the polls to make their voices heard in this greatest of all democracies. Especially when the election will have such a large impact on the future of North Carolina, it is doubly important for people to go to the polls and have a hand in determining their future.

At the same time, it is imperative that all voters become informed about the candidates and the issues at hand before they go to vote. Being an uninformed voter is worse than not voting at all, since basing for whom one votes on criteria other than substantive, differences on issues makes a mockery of democracy. From the voters guide in today's Chronicle to the numerous guides available in other newspapers and from other media outlets, voters have the ability and the responsibility to become informed.

There are two major races on which Duke voters can have a say. The first is the race for the U.S. House between David Price and Taun Nguyen. The second is that between Dole and Bowles. Currently, the U.S. Senate is divided in between 49 Republicans and 49 Democrats. A one-seat gain for either party would give it control of the Senate, which means vast control over committee chairs and the legislative agenda--including things such as the appointment of judges--over at least the next two years.

As many of the key races promise to be so close they may be reminiscent of the 2000 election. Unfortunately, since the 2000 election debacle, insufficient changes have been made to the voting system to ensure that each person has one and only one vote and that all votes are counted fairly.

The federal government should aim for voting reform that really works; ideally, it would be a system where voters anywhere in the country, whether they be college students away from home or business travelers, would be able to go to the closest polling station and vote for their home district. If there were a national, computerized system of voter rolls, this could be a real possibility.

Additionally, a national system of voter rolls would facilitate same-day registration, where a citizen could go to a polling station the sam e day of the election, although, there may be significant barriers standing in the way of the development of this system, but instituting a system like this is extremely important for the health of our nation's democracy.

The Chronicle reiterates its support for Elizabeth Dole in the U.S. Senate race and for David Price in the Fourth District U.S. House race.


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