Take advantage of right to vote

Elections have arrived, and a corresponding surge in patriotic sentiment has motivated everybody to line up at the voting booths to exercise their rights as American citizens.

If only.

In Florida, this year’s elections so far seem to have produced little general enthusiasm. Lackluster candidates are partly to blame. On the one hand, there’s incumbent Rick Scott, whose performance as governor has been mediocre at best. On the other, there’s Charlie Crist, whose about-faces on critical issues such as abortion and gay rights have shrouded his real beliefs in an impenetrable cloud.

Hardly inspiring.

But there’s more to this election than the race for governor. There are three amendments to the Florida constitution which can spell crucial change for the society which we, as UM students, are all a part of.

Do you really have nothing to say, for example, about the preservation of Florida’s ecosystems (Amendment 1)? Even if you don’t, isn’t it conceivable, after you do some research, that you might?

It’s true, if you are an out-of-state student and have not yet registered to vote in the state of Florida, you cannot vote for either Scott or Crist, nor on amendments to the Florida constitution. But these issues matter in other states, too. At least three other states, for example, are considering legislation similar to Florida’s proposed constitutional amendment about medical marijuana.

If you have any attachment to your home state, and are at all interested in having your say in its affairs, research your state’s rules on voting absentee.

At any rate, voting is much more than the issues themselves. It is not just your right as an American citizen; it is your duty. One cannot sit around professing to love the United States and its system of government and then choose not to participate in its lifeblood activity.

Ultimately, there is no excuse not to vote. Don’t know the issues? Do your research. Too busy? Do a mail-in ballot. Don’t like the candidates? There’ll be an outcome one way or another, so just choose the one you even slightly prefer. Don’t care? Think of all the hundreds of thousands of people who would do anything for even the smallest political voice.

Vote because you can and others can’t. Vote because you want to share in the responsibility for the state of your society. Whatever your motivation, just go vote.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.