Voters filling out their ballots in the polling station at St. Luke Lutheran Church Tuesday.

VALDETARO | Let 16-Year-Olds Vote (A Little Bit)

After spending several hours in The Sun’s newsroom writing for the election special edition, I got home at 2:00 a.m. on election night only for both of my roommates to confirm that neither of them had voted, even after we had discussed it numerous times throughout the semester. Although not a scientific survey, when combined with the multiple people in my orchestra who told me both before and after the election that they either weren’t planning to or didn’t vote, I now better understand a scientific Harvard Institute of Politics survey in which only 40 percent, or two in five, people aged 18-29 years old said they were likely to vote. I don’t solely blame my roommates or fellow orchestra members for not voting, though. Despite the best efforts of groups that did voter registration, chalked on Ho Plaza and arranged free rides to the polls for students, voting from college is a difficult process. Additionally, college is the first time that many students are eligible to cast a ballot, meaning that voting in any capacity is an unfamiliar act.

Polling location at Alice Cook House on November 6th, 2018. (Boris Tsang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor)

JOHNS | In House Victory, Democrats Now Owe Us Policy Details and Consensus-Building

As Democrats celebrate taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in a decade, they soon will confront a lesser understood political reality: Campaigning is much easier than governing. Having wrongly convinced some Americans that implementing a single payer healthcare system that has worked nowhere in the world and rolling back tax cuts that have sparked an economic renaissance will benefit them, they are now on the hook to work within a divided federal government to forge consensus and deliver results — or face almost certain political decimation by President Trump in 2020. There was no “blue wave” last evening. There was, instead, a message to the Trump administration that there remain many Americans still hurting in this nation even though every economic metric is pointing upward, including gross domestic product, employment, job creation and finally positive news in the third quarter this year that wages are inching upwards. The damage done to America’s poor and middle class by Obama administration policies cannot be underestimated.

Voting at St Luke Lutheran Church on Nov 6th, 2018 (Michael Wenye Li / Sun Photography Editor)

VALDETARO | A Democracy, If We Can Keep It

At the point of writing, the next holders of many of the 470 federal offices on the ballot this year have been decided. Beginning with Kentucky at 6 p.m., polls have closed across the country, with Democrats taking the House and Republicans consolidating their control of the Senate. Perhaps even more important than these federal elections, though, are state elections, which will have more numerous and longer-lasting implications. In the midst of our current political divisions, state governments not only provide a place for opponents of federal policies to try out their own policies, but state attorneys general have increasingly used their offices to launch legal challenges against the actions and policies of presidential administrations. It is not just in their role as laboratories of democracy, though, that the results of state elections will play an important role in future elections.

Rev. Steve Felker, of Ithaca, holds out an "I Voted" sticker at the polling place at Alice Cook House last year.

JEONG | The Symbolic Redemption of Voting

Growing up, my local library in tiny Leonia, N.J. carried this collection of biographies called “Childhood of Famous Americans.” Every weekend, I would go to the library with my mom and brother, and carefully select my famous American of choice, be it Walt Disney or Franklin Roosevelt. As an immigrant kid, reading these books gave me a sense of normalcy — knowing that if I worked hard and was kind, that I, too, could be like JFK or Joe DiMaggio. At the time, I was too young to understand the complications that came with being a minority and blissfully oblivious of the fact that I would turn out to be of underwhelming build and unathletic ability. The only thing of substance that grounded me was this idea that, in America, I would have as fair a shot as any other kid at success. America is an idea. We are taught that this idea was what won us the Revolutionary War and all the other wars for that matter.

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GROSKAUFMANIS | Electing to Show Up

 

The first election I ever voted in was a down-ballot wipeout, at least with respect to the people I was voting for.  My introduction to the democratic process was coupled with my introduction to large-scale electoral loss, and like many others, it was a loss that I didn’t see coming. I remember exactly how I felt on the morning of November 9, 2016: dejected, blind-sided, stupid.  (Also cold, because the weather that day in Ithaca was rainy and dramatic.) Before election day, I had listened to one too many episodes of the FiveThirtyEight elections podcast, interpreting their analysis to mean that there wasn’t much to worry about, so I didn’t.  The lead up to the 2016 election, at least for myself, was a lot of preemptive, unearned celebration of a victory that never came to fruition.

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JOHNS | Promises Kept

This Tuesday, voters across the country will cast ballots for candidates running for a broad number of federal, state and local offices in the United States government, including 435 U.S. House and 35 U.S. Senate seats. This is an important opportunity for Americans to take stock and to evaluate, based on the merits, where the country stands since the last election. At a university like Cornell, most already have their minds made up. The faculty have contributed overwhelmingly to liberal Democrats, and 2018 has proven no different.  The student body, if Sun polls and surveys are any indication, largely subscribe to the same ideology.