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Opinion: Get Out the Vote

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The day we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. After all of the political advertisements we’ve seen, all of the money that has been spent and the heated debates between candidates, today we make our decisions.  Tomorrow the election will be over, and we will be left with the outcome.  And if we don’t show up at the polling booths today, that outcome will be left to other people.

With many of the polls still being dead even, it could take days to calculate a clear winner of the presidency.  In Gallup’s final election survey, they polled Romney with 49 percent of the vote and Obama with 48 percent by likely voters.  But among total registered voters, Obama has the lead by three percent of the vote.  This demonstrates why it is so important for all eligible voters to show up at the polls today, as the turnout will significantly affect who wins.

Many of the results in the more recent modern elections could have easily changed with a higher turnout of voters.  Most recently, in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, we saw the result come down to a difference of only five electoral votes. Gore actually won the popular vote by more than half a million votes—larger than the population of Toledo, Ohio. It was uncertain for days who the 43rd President of the United States would be. The election came down to the state of Florida, where only 537 votes decided the results.

During President Bush’s reelection in 2004 against Democratic candidate John Kerry, the election still was determined by only 35 electoral votes. In 1976, Jimmy Carter won the presidency with only 57 more electoral votes than his opponent, incumbent Gerald Ford. A total of 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency, and in each of these election years, the elected won by less than 30 electoral votes.

Ohio has been significant in all of these elections. Both Carter and Bush won Ohio in order to win the presidency, proving how important we are as voters to the outcome of elections. In the Carter election, Ohio was as close as 48.9 to 48.7 percent. Similarly, the Bush v. Gore election was split 50 to 46.4 percent, and Bush v. Kerry was only 50.8 percent to 48.7 percent in the state of Ohio.  By the predictions in the polls, Ohio will be equally close in this election.

This election is going to make it possible for each person’s vote to count. Polls are predicting the results to be as close as a few hundred votes.  The results of this election will be determined by whether or not we show up at the voting booths. As Americans, we are fortunate enough to have the right to vote and to provide our own opinions regarding elected leaders.  Women and other minorities fought for our right to be able to vote in our country. We should be thankful for this right and exercise it today.

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