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Monday, October 30, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 66, Issue 50 

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Low voter turnout isn't all bad

Adam D. Elrod

Conventional wisdom states the remaining days of the 2000 Presidential Campaign will be spent fighting over the affections of the coveted "undecided voters." This segment of the population, estimated at approximately 20 percent of likely voters, is supposedly the target of every campaign ad, catchy slogan and brutal attack that each campaign administers.

But who exactly are these undecided voters? Are they merely voters who, despite their unwavering attention to the issues and candidates, simply cannot make up their minds? Certainly this cannot be the case, because the differences between the candidates was made quite obvious through the debates. This election offers a classic liberal vs. conservative battle. Anyone who cannot see the differences between these two philosophies is not paying attention.

Is this undecided segment a group that is completely unsatisfied with both candidates, and therefore cannot decide between "the lesser of the two evils?" Again, this cannot be the case, because the candidacies of Patrick J. Buchanan and the ultra-liberal Ralph Nader have offered distinct alternatives.

But, if the undecided voters are not in either of these categories, then who are they? Quite frankly, the vast majority of these "great undecided" are merely apathetic toward politics in general. They have not decided because they simply have not been paying attention.

The recent concentration of the media on these undecided voters would seem to give the impression that the next four years have been left securely in the hands of the politically ignorant. Has the American political process been turned over to a group of people who couldn't care less about politics and know virtually nothing about the issues? Not entirely.

Among the predictions regarding the Nov. 7 election has been a prediction of low voter turnout. With a prosperous economy, few perceived foreign policy threats and a general feeling of contentedness throughout the electorate, it is predicted there will be no pressing issue to facilitate the participation of the entire population.

Personally, I think the "undecided voter" has been far overrated. If the predictions are accurate, and this election truly will suffer from low voter turnout, then it is the apathetic undecided who will likely not show up at the polls on Election Day.

The only remaining question is, whose base will be more enthusiastic come Election Day? Luckily for us conservatives, the last eight years of Clinton has left the Republican base in a frenzy. The conservative voters are so eager to vote against Gore that I cannot help but think Gore is in trouble.

I encourage those who have an interest in politics, and a sincere concern and knowledge of the issues at hand, to utilize this right to its fullest extent. The solidity of our Representative Democracy does not merely depend on people voting. It depends on people voting based on supreme knowledge of the men and issues on the ballot.

Elrod, a senior political science major, 
can be reached at ThePatriot1776@hotmail.com.

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