The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Revved Up: Making your voice heard

What it takes to get involved in the election

I’m revved up about the 2008 elections. Whether you are voting “Obama for your Mama” or for the “Reign of McCain,” make sure your voice is heard. But let me be quick to point out that there is more at stake than the Oval Office this election. Judges and legislators at various levels of government are up for election and if you are registered to vote, you have the chance to cast your ballot.

Make sure you are registered to vote.

Even if you think you are not, it is worth your time to check. You may have registered when getting your driver’s license. To find out, you can usually go to any county clerk’s office and they can determine your status. You can also Google “am I registered to vote” and a number of options will pop up informing you how you can check. Most likely you will need your driver’s license number.

Check the facts.

It is more than likely that you did not spend your summer vacation researching the ins and outs of the candidates’ platforms, but there is hope for those who’d like to make informed decisions. The League of Women Voters publish a voter’s guide that has detailed information on nearly every candidate running for any government office in the country. Their guidebook is the “Cliff’s Notes” for all voters, even men. It has basic biographical information on each candidate along with a succinct, side-by-side chart of the candidate’s answers to poignant questions. You can get a free download of this guide by going to and clicking on “Find Your Local League.” Choose your city and state and you should find the appropriate guide.

Get your questions answered.

If you want to know where a candidate stands on an issue, or if you have a particular question about a candidate that you want answered, call up that candidate’s local campaign headquarters. Each headquarters is an outpost to disseminate information about their candidate. If they do not know the answer, they will do all that they can to find out. This is a great way to get past political maneuvering and get a straight answer. The person on the other end of the line is not a politico, but a volunteer who isn’t trying to necessarily win your vote. They want to make sure you know as much information as you need to in order to make a decision. They often know random information about the candidate such as pet info, favorite food, hobbies and other factoids.

Vote for your candidate.

You should vote for whomever you think will make the best public servant. You do not have to vote along party lines, and you do not have to vote for either red or blue. I have heard a number of people say that when you vote for a third-party candidate, you are throwing your vote away, politically speaking. This is not necessarily the case. As Ross Perot proved in 1992, third-party candidates make a difference. They draw attention to what many consider ‘fringe-issues” or “fringe-perspectives” and make a statement to the official-elect. Voting, in some sense, is also a game of inches. Though a third-party candidate may not win this election, a vote for them advances their platform, which can prove helpful in fundraising and multi-partisan efforts in the future.

Talk about your political views with people who have different ideologies.

This is a practice that many Americans shun but is practiced the world over. This is a great way to consider what you really think and believe about politics and social issues. You can spark these conversations by writing or responding to an op/ed piece in The Daily Campus. You can approach members of the various political student organizations such as the Young Republicans or College Democrats. I imagine that they would be more than willing to discuss their views and play devil’s advocate.

Figure out what kind of voter are you.

Are you a one-issue voter? What issues are non-negotiable for you? Why is this the case? Questions such as these should be thoughtfully considered. Take seriously the power of your vote and make sure that your decision is informed and fair.

Make sure to “rock the vote” this election season.

Richard Newton is a student at the Perkins School of Theology. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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