Commentary: Voting needs to become campus habit

Yesterday I voted in Massachusetts for the first time, and it felt good. Nothing to lift the onset of seasonal affective disorder like participating in some good ol’ fashioned democracy. Although there were several voters at the Tobin Municipal Building on Tremont Street, none of them looked like fellow Northeastern students.

Now, I know my home neighborhood, Mission Hill, very well. If the sheer drunken noise on a Saturday night is any indication, this neighborhood is teeming with Northeastern students. So where were they yesterday morning? Sure, many still call the suburbs of New Jersey or Long Island home and vote by absentee ballot. But I’m guessing it’s not the overwhelming majority. Exhibit A: in a class of about 17 students, only four raised their hands when the professor asked who would be voting in Tuesday’s election. Four. In a journalism class, full of those who should probably be the most informed.

I think there is a chunk of the Northeastern non-voting population that is not so much apathetic as ignorant to the registration process. I registered in Massachusetts this summer as a Democrat in Ward 10, Precinct 13. All I needed was a proof of residency, such as a copy of my gas bill and photo identification.

What needs to happen is Northeastern, or one of the many students groups (whether it be the Student Government Association, the Northeastern News, or the College Republicans or Democrats), should start holding periodic and well-publicized registration drives. Set up a table in the quad, let new registrants crack an egg on a sorority sister’s head if that’s what it will take to get them to vote. We could use the power of our numbers instead of sitting in our crappy apartments and watching The Daily Show. Because it takes a lot more than bitching to our roommates and agreeing with Jon Stewart to make a change.

– Rachel Slajda is a junior journalism major and member of the News staff.

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