Cramming For The 2004 Election Exam

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After attending a recent candidate forum, a colleague noted that the term "informed voter" seems to be somewhat of an oxymoron.

"It still amazes me," she said, "the ratio of people who gripe about our elected officials to the ones who go to the forums and meet them and learn about them."

What's even more amazing is the percentage of these same people --he ones who tuned in to watch the World Series and tuned out of the local, state, and national campaigns -- who remain undecided.

"Informed voters" are those who have listened to the debates, studied the propaganda, and decided which candidate best matches their political, moral and spiritual beliefs.

Educated voters also recognize that while voter apathy reigns supreme in America, there is tremendous power in each and every vote. Consider these seven facts compiled by the University of San Francisco:

  • In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
  • In 1776, one vote named English instead of German the official language of the United States.
  • In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Jackson from impeachment.
  • In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.
  • In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency of the United States.
  • In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
  • In 1941, one vote saved the Selective Service from being discontinued. The vote was held just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

There is still time to become an informed voter. Now that the World Series is over, spend your weekend cramming for this most important test. Read your newspapers. Surf the Internet. Learn about the candidates who will have the greatest impact on your life.

Then, when Tuesday rolls around, put down your pencils, head to the polls, and exercise your right to vote.

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