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Register where it counts

In dorm halls and on bathroom doors, students are seeing signs for One Sweet Vote, a program designed to entice undergraduates to request absentee ballots and participate in the national election.

The program aims to build a culture on campus that fosters much needed dialogue about the election. Given complaints about Duke’s apathetic student body and nationwide trends of low voter turnout among 18 to 24-year-olds, One Sweet Vote is an encouraging push for greater awareness and involvement.

Along with One Sweet Vote, a number of student groups on campus are trying to register voters, and students should follow their lead. The groups range from political activists to cultural associations, showing that a wide array of students recognize the importance of voting and taking part in the democratic process.

Students who are already registered to vote have taken an important first step. For those who haven’t, all it takes to register is a few clicks on the Internet or check marks with a pen.

Although students should submit absentee ballots if their home state is where they believe their vote is most important, they should also consider that they are currently residents of North Carolina and have the option of registering to vote here.

North Carolina has been labeled a “swing state” that could tip the balance either way in the Electoral College. If you live in a state that is a Republican or Democratic stronghold, your vote in the presidential election could have a greater impact here.

Many other states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, are also considered swing states. Residents of these states should request and submit their absentee ballots because, like North Carolina, these states could ultimately decide the election.

In many of these states, the battle for the White House is not the only important race. For example, several other North Carolina contests have national implications. Democratic Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards’ Senate seat is up for grabs in a race between Democrat Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, and Republican Rep. Richard Burr. One seat in the closely divided Senate could tip the majority either way.

There are a lot of national issues in limbo right now, ranging from national security and defense policy to education and health care. This could be the most important election of our generation, so get out and vote.

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