With Election Day fast approaching, you are all probably beginning to see the candidates running for office establish a more visible presence in the area.
There are signs being put up, television advertisements being run and rallies being held more and more each week. But before you go to the polls this November, I’d like to implore you to take a few things into consideration.
First of all, register to vote. It is important to take advantage of this right that so many throughout history have fought to preserve and protect. A lot of the time it can feel like one voice can’t possibly make a difference — and a lot of the time this is true — but exercising that one voice has a much greater chance of making a difference than doing nothing at all. That’s probably about all I need to say on that subject.
Secondly, please consider registering to vote in Blacksburg. Many of you registered in high school for whatever district you grew up in. But this is where you’re living now and probably for the next few years, so you should have a say in who’s in charge here.
The representative in the 9th district (which includes Blacksburg and Virginia Tech) affects how much money the university gets, what kind of programs and facilities we have access to and the quality of the professors attracted to this area. All these things directly affect what kind of education you get and the overall reputation of Tech as a university, which is likely to be important to you for the rest of your life.
Since this is our community, at least for now, it’s important to be a part of the process for deciding what this community stands for and how it’s run. There is also a particularly important election going on here this year — the incumbent Democrat Rick Boucher running against Republican Morgan Griffith for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In a hotly contested election cycle, every seat matters, and this particular seat could go to either candidate.
Next, I would like to encourage you to consider giving some of your time to volunteer for one of the candidates (Boucher or Griffith, whomever you support). If having that one little vote just isn’t quite enough for you in terms of making a difference, volunteering with a campaign is a great way to affect even greater change. It’s not always the most fun thing in the world — no one really enjoys calling up strangers or knocking on random doors and telling people who they should vote for — but it can be immensely rewarding to see your candidate elected and know you had a hand in making that happen.
It’s also a great opportunity to network and meet with people who are, or one day will be, some of the most powerful and influential people in the country. This does not just include the politicians you’ll be working for, but also the people running their campaigns, who make all the difference in who gets elected and who doesn’t.