Student Leader Reflects On Campaign

Daniel Rae, 19, sits at the front desk of Elwell Hall, a textbook open in front of him…unread.  He glances at a yellow sheet of paper that hangs on the wall inside the office. “Quote Board” is written across the paper’s top.  A prominent quote near the bottom reads, ‘The Obama campaign is really starting to gear up…  -Dan Rae.’ 

The catch phrase he has used all semester seems significant somehow, with one of the most historic and important presidential elections now within sight. His brown eyes scan the crowds entering and leaving the building, as he taps a pen against the pages of his book, his mind on the upcoming election. The election’s start is less than eight hours away. 
“I’m volunteering with Senator Obama’s campaign,” Rae says, “trying to get people to the polls, making sure they know where their polling place is and encouraging them to vote.”

Rae, a sophomore Computer Forensics major, hasn’t always been interested in politics.  Before college, he had a casual interest, but wasn’t actively involved. He explains, “My sister was very involved in politics, and she had a huge influence on me.  When I came to college, she got me into it.”

Since the fall of 2007, Rae has been president of the University Democrats, a political club on campus that has been heavily involved in this year’s presidential election.  “Politics affect everything, and this election is one thing we have complete control over,” Rae says.  He hopes to see at least 2,500 students on campus head to the polls tomorrow, himself one of them.  “It’s my first time voting in a presidential election,” he says, “I’m really excited!”

Rae chose to support Obama because his policies best reflect what Rae feels this country needs.  “His policy on the economy is bottom up, rather than trickle down,” he says, “trickle down has been proven to fail time and time again.”  Rae adds that Obama is an extremely charismatic speaker, and will be able to revitalize America’s standing in the world.

Rae will be at the polls from 6:30 am, even before the polls open at 8 am. He will stay until 8 pm, when the polls close.  “I talked to my professors and explained I won’t be in class all day,” Rae says, tapping his textbook, trying to put off the inevitable studying. 

His 6’2” frame expands for a second as he takes a deep breath.  “We had a pretty huge run in the primaries,” he says with a confident nod, “so this is just a continuation from that.” With his wardrobe already planned for tomorrow…jeans, an Obama shirt, and a green jacket, Rae only needs a few accessories to complete the look.  “I’ll probably find a button or two to put on there,” he says.

As the country waits for the polls to open, Rae reminds students they have certain voting rights.  He adds students should try to avoid attempting to vote during meal times because working people head to the polls during lunch and dinner breaks.  “If you’re in line by 8 pm, you can’t be sent home,” he says, “you have the right to vote.”

We do have the right to vote, and only time will tell how many take advantage of their right tomorrow.

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