Election Day is here…now what?

Editorial by Kernel staff. E-mail [email protected].

The UK community has enjoyed several campus appearances by Congressional and mayoral candidates in recent weeks in hopes of generating political interest and promoting political activism.

Today, Election Day, is the moment of truth for all of these visitors, as voters take to the polls. Did the candidates’ appearances really make a difference in the final election outcome, though?

Student political groups and Lexington-based groups certainly seemed to think so.

On Monday, Oct. 11, “Cats for Conway” and Student Government hosted Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, Rep. Ben Chandler, Attorney General and Senate hopeful Jack Conway and special guest, former President Bill Clinton.

The Oct. 20 mayoral debate highlighted current Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry and Vice Mayor Jim Gray.  Last Friday, Oct. 29, the Republican Senate hopeful Andy Barr came to UK with supporter and youngest member of Congress Rep. Aaron Schock. College Republicans and SG sponsored the event.

As university officials have repeatedly emphasized, hosting candidates on campus is not an endorsement. Rather, it is a way to spark political discussion and inform the public on candidates’ platforms in a proximate, interactive way.

In essence, the university is enabling and promoting what every political candidate already knows.

Successful politicians understand that to get votes, they have to be accessible to the people. They have to clarify their platform and political agenda and, increasingly, maintain that their records are better than their opponents’. College students are a grossly underrepresented portion of the voting population, and because of students’ impressionability, college campuses are obvious go-to locations for candidates.

Bottom line: Canvassing is essential if you want to win over and, more importantly, motivate the crowd to vote for you.

An Oct. 27 Kernel article described student political groups’ use of this strategy, including phone banking and door-to-door canvassing. The article explained that groups hoped to encourage last-minute voters to support their candidates through these efforts.

Politicians and student political groups have done their part, now you must do yours. Be civically engaged and vote.