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Campaigning now in full swing

We know it’s a privilege to vote. We also know that the right to vote is also a choice we have to make or decide, whether to participate in the affairs of our country by casting our vote and elect the best and most qualified candidate of our choice or not to get involved at all and let others decide who will lead and govern us.

A friendly reminder for those of us who are eligible to vote but haven’t registered – visit the voter registration office in your respective community. Deadline to register is Oct. 6, 29 days before the election.

According to the State Board of Elections of the Commonwealth of Virginia, to register to vote in Virginia, you must be a United States citizen, be a resident of Virginia, be 18 years old by the next general election, have had your voting rights restored if you have ever been convicted of a felony, have had your capacity restored if you have ever been declared mentally incapacitated in a Circuit Court.

For more information about voter registration, absentee voting, election and candidate information, etc., visit the Web site at www.sbe.virginia.gov.

Now that the national conventions (Democratic and Republican) are way over, the business of campaigning by both political parties is already in full swing across the country. In anticipation is the forthcoming national debates of the two presidential hopefuls and their running mates this coming month of October.

While the airwaves are crammed or bombarded with political ads and propaganda, the two presidential candidates, U.S. senators Barack Obama (Democrat) and John McCain (Republican) and their running mates U.S. senator Joe Biden (Democrat) and Alaska governor Sarah Palin (Republican), respectively, are now busy crisscrossing America, especially those battleground states like New Hampshire and our state of Virginia, meeting with and talking to the rest of us, undecided and independent-minded voters, presenting their plans for a better future for America, and telling and convincing us that they’re the best candidates over their opponents, for the job or position they’re aspiring for. But of course, the above-mentioned candidates will do all they can to win our votes. That’s exactly their ultimate goal – to win and get elected come Nov. 4.

As political ads of both parties are getting sillier, nastier, and more confusing and misleading rather than enlightening, some of us are getting more confused than ever. That’s why we, voters, need to be informed and get to know the facts before we finally decide who gets our votes. Let’s bear in mind that the decision we make and the vote we cast on Nov. 4 will determine or affect our future and our children’s.

Let’s be aware of what change these two political parties have been talking about nowadays. The New York Times columnist David Brooks, in his recent column “Surprises and weirdness,” wrote that the presidential campaign has become a battle between two definitions of change. He differentiated Obama’s change, which is “more responsible and specific, but it has it all the weirdness of a Brookings Institution report,” from McCain’s, which is “comprehensive and vehement, though it’s hard to know how it would actually work in office.”

Such is the world of politics, huh? Well, folks, let’s keep our mind open and know the truth and the facts so won’t be easily swayed with our precious votes. After all, we’ve got only less than seven weeks to go before Election Day. Let’s safeguard and exercise our right of suffrage. Yes, our vote counts and does matter. Our vote can change the course of our country’s future. Our vote is our voice. Therefore, in order to be heard, let’s get out and vote on Nov. 4.