From the desk: Student government always seeks to respond to you
Tomorrow is Election Day. I encourage you to set aside some time to vote between 7 am, when the polls open, and 8 pm, when they close. Do not let inclement weather stop you from voting. The opportunity to have a direct impact on the future of America does not come often. Please make the most of it.
In addition to voting in Presidential and Congressional races, voters in Allegheny County will be electing representatives to the Pennsylvania State Senate and House of Representatives. Pennsylvania voters will also be choosing a state attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer.
While state races may not get as much media coverage as national races, they are still important. One state issue that affects students is public transportation. State funding cuts have caused the Port Authority to propose elimination of all night and weekend bus service. These cuts could take place as early as March. Our student government is working to lobby the state government to provide adequate funding for public transportation, but this will only be effective if students vote in large numbers.
Student government has organized shuttles to polling places that will be running all day from the University Center turnaround; however, for many of you it will be more convenient to walk to your polling place.
Offer to walk with your friends to the polls or give them a ride if you have a car. If you are not sure where to vote, call the Allegheny County Elections Division at (412) 350-4500 or look it up at www.everybodyvote.com.
If tomorrow will be your first time voting or if you will be voting in a new election district, you will be required to provide proof of identification to vote; your student identification card will be sufficient.
It is important to know your rights as a voter. If you are in line before the polls close, you have a right to vote, no matter how long it takes. If you believe you are registered to vote but your name does not appear on the official voter list, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot. If you are confused about anything while voting, feel free to ask questions of the poll workers.
After you vote, you can watch the results come in at student government?s Election Returns Party in Rangos Ballroom. It begins at 6 pm, and performers including Adam Edison, The Girls, Off The Top, Adam Evil and the Outside Royalty, Anna Vogelzang, The No Parking Players, The Originals, and Soundbytes will be on stage as the election results are televised on large screens.
This will also be the last week of free newspapers through the Collegiate Readership Program. Student government decided to pilot the program during the month leading up to election so that students could be more informed about political issues.
I have received a great deal of feedback about the program, almost all of which has been positive. Many students expressed a desire for the program to continue.
Unfortunately, Student Government does not currently have the funds necessary to continue the program, but we are considering raising these funds through a new student fee of between $4 and $6 per year.