EDITORIAL- Stay fired up for November elections

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to rally young voters and tell them their vote matters in the upcoming elections.

“We need you to stay fired up because there’s an election on Nov. 2 that will say a lot about the future – your future and the future of our country,” Obama told the Badgers.

Obama is talking to the same students who turned out in record numbers for the 2008 presidential election.

Young people can make a difference in the election process and being involved should be a priority.

Many students have excuses for why voting is inconvenient or irrelevant, including schoolwork, jobs or even being at school out of state. But these are not sufficient reasons for students to avoid their political duties as a citizen.

Even if you aren’t a Wisconsin resident, you can still stay informed and up to date on your home state elections. You can easily take part in these elections by contacting your state’s local election officials and requesting an absentee ballot application, which will be mailed to your dorm or apartment. Your voice can be heard, even if it’s from across the country.

Wisconsin’s governor race should be of great importance to local students. Wisconsin has been a democratic state, but this year’s election — between Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett.

Further south in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is running against Terry Goddard (D), the state’s attorney general and Phoenix’s former mayor. Immigration remains the candidates’ most hotly debated platform issue.

In Massachusetts, the race for governor has slimmed between Gov. Deval Patrick (D) and Charlie Baker (R), as voters debate which candidate will best handle the state’s budget deficit. The state is also split over the issue of lowering the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent.

According to a CNN poll, many Americans believe the most important issues facing the country in the upcoming election are the economy, the deficit, health care, illegal immigration, education, energy and terrorism.

While politics can be overwhelming to young people, and seemingly complex issues can discourage voting, students should make the proactive choice to follow the races that matter most to them.

Whether it’s Wisconsin’s governor’s race, or a home state’s governor’s race, stay informed and active.  Following the news, looking through candidates’ personal websites, or joining campus political organizations are all means by which students can remain involved.

Marquette’s College Democrats, College Republicans, Students for Walker and Democracy Matters are such on-campus groups that help students find peers with similar political interests, provide opportunities to be involved in campaigns, and are simply sources of information.

Democracy Matters, a non-partisan campus group, focuses on student activism. No matter what party you’re rooting for, Democracy Matters is a forum for student opinions and voice.

We encourage students to get involved in the pending elections. With a month remaining, there is more than enough time to look into Wisconsin’s races or home state races. Stay aware of the debated issues you care most about, those that will affect you. Join campus political groups and find out what they’re all about. As Obama told students, “Stay fired up.” And keep that fire until Nov. 2.