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(Host) Commentator Madeleine Kunin says that if anything is certain in this election – it’s the importance of voting.

(Kunin) This nail biting Presidential campaign makes me think I’ll have no finger nails left by election day-or whenever the winner is determined. It’s close, oh, so close as the polls careen back and forth like a child on a swing.

Some suspect that we’re in for an October surprise, which could be anything – take your choice – the capture of Osama Bin Laden, the discovery of weapons of mass destruction, or – God forbid – another terrorist attack or more probably, another red code alert.

Will the election hinge on how safe Americans feel on election day, or whether or not they were able to get a flue shot, or get angry at the price of gas?

How much of this election is within our control? Both candidates are going sharply negative, putting out ads that attack, attack and attack. I wonder whether voters can see through these half truths, or even quarter truths, and make up their own minds?

Or are the attack ads credible only to strong supporters of either Bush or Kerry who shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, that’s politics.”

There is one area of this see saw campaign that we can control, It’s so obvious that I hesitate to dwell on it. We – every American citizen amongst us – control our vote.

Yes, it’s that simple, whoever gets the most electoral votes will become president. And this time, we hope the electoral votes will match the popular vote. The key to winning this election for either party is to get out the vote.

Voter registration is at an all time high in many cities and states. College students, African Americans, Evangelicals, immigrants, Kerry supporters and Bush supporters have all been knocking on doors to register voters.

Yes, there are serious concerns about faulty voting machines, intimidation of voters, and Election Day confusion by unprepared election officials. It’s almost too late to fix that now, unfortunately. But we can get out the vote. Our vote, but also our family’s, friends, neighbors and

Registering to vote is only half the battle. The other half is getting people to the polls. The voter registration fever was spiked by the common knowledge that there is so much at stake in this election – not only for the next four years, but into the forseeable future.

As we tune out some of the noise of the final weeks of the presidential race, it’s time to focus on the central question in a Democracy – it is we who are in control, and it is we – who will chose the
next president of the United States.

This is Madeleine May Kunin.

Madeleine May Kunin is a former governor of Vermont.

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