Make your voice heard: get out and vote

Today voters finally have a chance to make their voices heard. The Illinois Primary is the first chance voters have had since President Barack Obama was elected in November 2008, who promised change and reform that many of us have yet to see. It is the first chance they’ve had since former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s arrest and later removal from office. It is the first chance they’ve had since unethical admissions practices were exposed at the University, which led to the greatest upheaval in University administration and leadership in the school’s history. It is the first chance they’ve had since the state has seen the realities of the major budget crisis it’s facing and made necessary cuts. Take this chance. Make your voice heard. Don’t forget to vote.

Off-year elections historically have lower turnout among voters, but this year’s election must be an exception.

We need change in Springfield more than ever before. The only way to bring that change is to elect a new group of legislators dedicated to bipartisanship over stubbornness and to making the state better rather than advancing their own political careers.

This primary is important now because we need to choose the best possible candidates for the general election in November.

We are concerned about higher education in a year where MAP grants have been in question and University employees will be required to take furloughs. We are concerned about the state budget situation and the fact that either cuts, a tax increase or both may be a reality in the future. We are concerned about ethics reform and corruption from our leaders in a state where our past two governors may both soon be in prison. We are concerned about social issues such as those facing minorities, LGBT citizens and women’s rights in a state and a country that is becoming more diverse everyday. We are concerned about these issues and will make our voices and our votes heard today. You must do so as well.

Voting is a right: a right we all have and should exercise. In 2008, many students felt unsure about what to bring to their polling places, some faced issues while voting, and some were even turned away from some polling places. This cannot happen today. Don’t forget any of your materials necessary to vote and don’t let paperwork or larger time commitments get in the way of exercising one of your most important rights. If you are turned away from voting, see long lines, or face other problems on election day, please let us know so we can look into the issues. Election days are a a time to enjoy the freedoms we have, whether it is your first time voting, or just another election in your lifetime.

Enjoy your freedom and go vote.