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Monday, May 27, 2024

Notes from the Desk: Why an Election Issue?

Just about everyone says this is the most important election of “our” lifetime. In other words, this election will determine the future of Trumpism. All agree: a Democratic Congress most likely means a quicker end to the Trump Presidency. Some think this would be good, others bad. 

But, this election is about much more than that — it is, as hyperbolic as it may sound, about the future of democracy. Voter ID laws are limiting voters, particularly people of color, from exercising the right many of us take for granted. Gerrymandered districts result in inaccurate and inequitable representation. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, also the Republican nominee for governor, is overseeing his own election, and has tried to purge eligible voters off the rolls and ignored the real threat of election hacking. 

As Middlebury’s own Scholar-in-Residence Sue Halpern tweeted in August, “Years ago, when I got my doctorate in political (democratic) theory, I never imagined disenfranchisement would still be a tactic, but here we are.” 

The Harvard Institute of Politics released Monday the results of their biannual National Youth Poll, which found that “young Americans are significantly more likely to vote in the upcoming midterm elections compared to 2010 and 2014.” Hopefully, our student body will help prove their prediction true. In 2014, just 14.3 percent of Middlebury College students voted in the midterm elections. That is pathetic. It is even more pathetic that it took the last two years to remind us of the need to (hopefully) get out and vote. 

Voting is more than just a fun activity from a “Schoolhouse Rock” song, it is a habit. Would you forget to dress up for a Halloween party? Buy gifts during the holidays? 

And that’s where the idea for an “Election Issue” comes in. Here we are, reminding you to vote.  We’re doing our part as young journalists to get you, and us, in the habit of voting — of thinking about the issues in your community, state and beyond. 

If you missed your home state’s absentee deadline, or won’t be able to make it home for Election Day, we semi-forgive you. That is because it is not too late for you to vote here in Middlebury. Yes, as a Middlebury College student, you are a resident of Vermont. We explain how to vote in town step-by-step on Page A2. Since I know every student reads The Campus cover-to-cover, now no one has an excuse not to vote. Again, it’s a habit. Do it. 

Finally, I must say that this week’s issue is the culmination of months’ worth of planning and hard work by our entire staff. 

Over the summer, when the managing editors and I pitched the idea to the rest of the team, they hit the ground running and never looked back. We are proud of their work, and grateful to those who agreed to talk with them during the course of their reporting, and to those who wrote op-eds.  

Thank you and go to the damn polls.