Students encouraged to vote Nov. 7


by Casey JohnsonStaff Writer

As we approach the month of November, one topic rises above all others to capture the attention of most Americans.

November is historically the month of both national as well as statewide elections. It’s a time of stimulating debate, political turmoil, and a time when people have a chance to voice their opinions through voting.

But young people, ages 18-29, never seem to turn up at the voting booths like they should. In the elections of 2004, the voter turnout for those between the ages of 18 to 29 was 47 percent. That was up nine percentage points from the previous elections but still less than half.

“I know that when I was eighteen, the last presidential election was going on, and there was a big push to get young people to vote so that issues other than those that only affect the elderly, such as social security and Medicare, would still be important to the candidates,” said junior Jessica Leete, chapter chair of the College Republicans. “The elderly have the best voter turnout, so those are the issues that get discussed and sometimes people our age get left out. So it’s very, very important, especially among young people that we get out there and vote otherwise we’re not going to have a say in anything that goes on and nothing that’s important to us is going to be important to the politicians. You can protest and you can gripe all you want. You can discuss politics with people or in class but until you vote you’re not actually putting your input into the system.”

Simpson College does maintain an active political scene. Currently the two primary political organizations on campus are the Simpson College Conservatives (formerly the Simpson College Republicans) and the Simpson College Democrats.

In addition, the Political Science Department has its own theme house, the Poli-Sci House, and Simpson offers political science as both a major and minor.

“Students have an incredible amount of influence on their lives from the government and that’s a good reason in and of itself to vote,” said junior Nathan Arentsen, president of the College Democrats at Simpson. “I think that a lot of young people are fighting in Iraq, that’s another reason to vote. I think that just the sheer fact that students are going to be participating in the American economy is a reason to vote. I think that all of those things are important reasons to vote.”

This year, the Democratic candidate for Governor is Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver, and his running mate is former Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge. The Republican Party candidate for Governor is fifth district Rep. Jim Nussle, and his running mate is Bob Van Der Plaats.

According to polls, Culver is ahead of Nussle by two points, 42 percent to 40 percent. As the election date of Nov. 7 approaches, it’s essential that people who are not registered to vote do so, so that they may participate in the election process.

“To register to vote just go right across the street from Carver Science Hall to the County Administration Building, and you can register to vote and actually vote right there in the auditor’s office,” Arentsen said.

Students who wish to vote in their hometowns can request absentee ballots online or go to their county courthouse