Elections and debates

Sunday, October 10, 2004

It's been called the Year of the Undecided.

With just weeks to go until Election Day, pundits and poll watchers say this year's presidential election is still up for grabs. Political parties are courting voters and trying to get their candidate's message across. Voter registration drives were at an all time high this year, as both parties want to get more people to the polls on Nov. 2.

But come Election Day, the decision lies with the voters at the ballot boxes. Voters should be well informed when heading to the polls. It's their responsibility.

The presidential and vice-presidential debates give voters a chance to see the candidates in a give-and-take format. So far President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry have met twice and vice president Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards once for debates. All the debates have been televised.

The presidential candidates will debate one last time on Wednesday, again before national viewing audiences.

Of course, debates aren't known for drawing record numbers of viewers but they are important to our electoral process. Some people watch the debates to see how well the candidate they're supporting does or how poorly the opposition does, but the goal isn't really to declare a winner. That's what happens on Election Day.

Americans learned after the 2000 election that every vote really does count. Recent registration drives in Southeast Missouri added more than 2,000 people to the rolls. Let's hope that they turn out to vote. Choosing political leaders is a great responsibility and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.

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