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Illinois State U. Faculty Panel Stresses Importance Of Elections

This story was written by Alex Kantecki, The Daily Vidette

"By not registering, not educating yourself and not voting, you're missing out on a chance for change," Stephen Hunt, associate professor in the School of Communication said.

"If you wonder why politicians aren't responsive to our needs, it's because you don't show up."

Hunt spoke at a Illinois State University faculty panel Monday evening, which focused on the significance of the upcoming presidential election.

Lane Crothers, professor of politics and government, as well as Dawn Beichner, professor of criminal justice sciences, also spoke at the event organized by the Honors Program.

"Everyone must cherish the moment," Beichner said. "Take a look at the issues and think about how it is going to change your life."

The panel also focused on how local elections could make a huge difference in students' lives.

"If ISU students would register and vote in local elections, they would run the town," Crothers said. "The power of local elections is under looked."

"The little victories make the biggest strides and determine the quality of your life."

Crothers added that even though the presidential race is all but over in Illinois, it is still important to vote.

"Think of this election as a global election," Crothers said. "It will have a great impact on the moral respect others give to the United States."

According to Hunt, two major differences that will come out of this election are stark changes in economic and foreign policies.

"Presidential candidates meeting with global leaders is an example of this," he said.

Another important point of interest in the election is the possibility of a female vice president.

"Hopefully, this election will squash the endless moments of sexist media time," Beichner said. "It will hopefully help fight the violence of men against women, insure rights for all women and fairly weigh women's wages with men's."

The panel also discussed the use of negative campaigning in elections.

"Negative campaigning is at the heart of American elections," Crothers said. "Its primary function is not to change the voter's mind, but to suppress the opponent."

"American elections inevitably become nasty, and so will this one."

Fear is usually a useful tactic in elections, according to Hunt.

"Research shows that fear can sway votes if the threat is extreme," he said. "Still, only a small majority of Americans change their minds last minute."

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