This is it, Hoyas. After years of being written off by the political establishment as stubbornly apathetic and unreliable, you – the college student – are now squarely in the middle of an election where you may well make the difference between who wins and who loses. Only two states have voted so far, but young voters have already made a powerful impression on the early results. Barack Obama, whose big win in the Iowa caucuses stunned the Democratic Party establishment, drew more than a third of his support from voters under 30. And John McCain owes his victory in the New Hampshire Republican primary on Tuesday in no small part to young voters, who favored the Arizona senator by eight points over his nearest rival. The best part is that on both sides, the race is still wide open. Unlike in recent presidential elections, both the Democratic and Republican races have shown no sign of coming to a speedy conclusion and are likely to continue for at least another month. But whatever excites you – whether it’s maverick McCain, or the Obama wave, or the Clinton comeback, or the Huckaboom, or even the Ron Paul revolution – it may all be for naught if you don’t do your civic duty this month and register to vote. ore than 20 states, including California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, will hold their nominating contests on Feb. 5. If you want your voice to count on Super Tuesday, then you procrastinate at your own peril. You can print out an application for an absentee ballot from your state’s board of elections, just a quick Google search away. Do it today. Do it now. Even though a fully enfranchised electorate is the foundation of our democratic system of government, the sad reality is that citizens seeking to vote often face a lot of hurdles. College students living away from home often have to jump through so many hoops to vote that it may not even seem worth it. For example, those of you who live in states holding caucuses on Feb. 5 (Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico and North Dakota) won’t be able to vote at all, unless you can afford to make the trip home in early February. For those of you who hail from primary states, voting requires that you first register (if you haven’t already), apply for a ballot and mail it in, all by the specific deadlines set by your state. That process is a hassle under the best circumstances, and it certainly doesn’t help matters that the on-campus postal service here at Georgetown moves about as fast as Dennis Kucinich’s poll numbers. But there are also a lot of resources out there to assist you. Groups at Georgetown like the College Democrats are making laudable efforts to help students procure absentee ballots. And Facebook, the ubiquitous social networking site, is finally giving something back to the generation it has forever corrupted with an easy link for users seeking to register to vote. This is Georgetown, after all. We shouldn’t need MTV telling us to “Rock the Vote” or P. Diddy imploring us to “Vote or Die”. We share our home with the consequences of the nation’s decisions. And don’t think that one vote won’t count. If a couple hundred Floridians had changed their vote in 2000, this would be a different town today, and a different country. So the choice before you is a pretty simple one. You can do what a lot of your peers have done in the past and say that you don’t like any of the candidates and that voting isn’t worth your time, or you can make this the election the one when college students finally stand up and end politics as usual. Democracy won’t work if people don’t vote. So this month, do your duty.

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