The election season is finally upon us. After an exhaustive series of primaries and conventions for both parties?and seemingly endless coverage and commentary on the candidates?November 4 is now less than a month and a half away.
It is an exciting time, and not only because for many of us this race marks the first time we will be eligible to vote in a presidential election. In addition to our obvious responsibilities as voters?learning about each local, statewide, and presidential candidate, and gathering information about the important issues?there is another duty that is often overlooked or delayed until the last minute: registering to vote.
Registering to vote in Brunswick is not complicated, and taking care of it early will help to ensure a smooth, painless Election Day. Though it is possible to register in the state of Maine until November 4, the confusion at the Maine Democratic Caucus last February?confusion that stemmed, largely, from students and Brunswick residents trying to register the day of the caucus?underscores the obvious reasons for registering to vote before the polls become crowded and chaotic on Election Day.
The Bowdoin community has taken several commendable steps to ensure that students can register to vote on campus well in advance of November 4. Residential Life is currently registering students through October 9. The Bowdoin College Democrats have also set up tables in the Union where students?regardless of party allegiance?can register until October 14. From October 14 until November 4, students can register to vote at the Town Clerk's Office?a short walk or bike ride down Federal Street.
Students who have registered in Maine under a previous Bowdoin address will almost invariably have to re-register, since most students move to a different residence on campus each year. Bowdoin is carved up into four different voting precincts, so a student who lived in Stowe Inn last year and lives in Coles Tower this year has a different mailing address?and thus needs to re-register.
While we are all accountable for having an understanding of issues and stances addressed by John McCain and Barack Obama, students who register to vote in Maine should also familiarize themselves with the local issues. The ballot in November will include a number of statewide initiatives, as well as senate and congressional races. As Bowdoin students, we are four-year residents of Maine, and it is important to recognize that our votes will impact Maine's lifelong residents.
Voters in Maine will face difficult choices on Election Day. Deciding who we want running our country the next four years, or whether we believe that Maine should allow a full service casino in Oxford County, are indeed difficult questions, and should be considered carefully and thoughtfully. But the simple act of registering to vote involves a short walk to Moulton Union or the Brunswick Town Hall. Laziness or indecisiveness regarding registration should be considered, in a word, un-American.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which comprises Nick Day, Mary Helen Miller, Adam Kommel, and Cati Mitchell.