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here’s a swipe of an email i sent to people i know, maybe it will be helpful to others.  i’m not the brightest guy in the world, so i had to find this info out through light research.  i would think this info is easy to find, but-wouldnt-you-know-it, the state of NJ elections website is too confusing for me, and provided me no real tangible answers.  here you go…

to any or all interested in voting in the primaries:

i just did some research, and called our county board of elections to find out the process of voting in the primaries.  i was under the impression that you have to be affiliated to a political party in order to get involved in the process.

it turns out that is not the case, totally.  you can in fact go to
your normal polling location to vote in the NJ primaries, February 5.  but you do have to choose a party at that moment.  in my case i think that sucks. but if i want my vote to, at the very least, slightly reflect support for my chosen candidate, that’s what i have to do.

if you want you can change affiliations, you have 50 days before any other primary election, state or national.

My confusion stemmed from watching coverage of the NH primaries last night.  it was announced NJ would be part of the many primary election across the country on Feb 5, a change from the standard month of June.  i never participated in a primary elections because candidates are already nominated by that time, rendering our state’s voice
meaningless.  hopefully this change of date will inspire others to go out and vote.

Rodol

(thats my middle name)

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i guess as a population we’re not very embarassed about our collective voter turnout.  i am, but that may have something to do with the fact that i was born outside of the U.S.  I have memories of myself in Ecuador waiting in line at voter polls, and U.S. elections were always a big deal. 

but anyway, voting is important.  more important though is being an educated voter; know who you’re voting for, do some research on certain referendums that are up to citizens to decide, even if its just a little bit.  we all live here, and even though sometimes it might feel like the system is not working for us yet we’re still doing alright, imagine if more people made their presence felt at the polls!  sooner or later all lazy politicians will have to react!

here in Jersey we get to decide if state money can be allocated for stem cell research grants for universities and other companies with the same goals.  I will be voting YES to that one. 

now for the comic portion of the post, a dubious ballot question regarding suffrage: should the term “idiot or insane person” be replaced with the phrase “a person who has been abjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to lack the capacity to understand the act of voting.”  Obviously the fact that “idiot or insane person” has remained in our constitution this long is quite remarkable, and the legal rep that had to sort through that piece of info had to have a good laugh.  what is a bit scary is that a small group of peeps can get to decide if someone is good enough to vote.  Obviously this kind of thing is aimed at people who are literally braindead, but who’s to say how far this interpretation can reach?  I mean, we are a non-voting bunch after all.

Watching the heavy coverage of the awful events in Virginia Tech University, I couldn’t help but reflect on my time on campus, and question if the Rutgers commmunity (student body, professors, deans, campus police, etc.)  would have handled this any differently than our peers in VT.

As many of you are surely aware, campus life can be a bit mundane. It’s a life of routine and quite frankly just a lazy (nonetheless fun) experience.  Some of us would literally crawl to morning classes dressed down because we just didn’t care.  This sort of carelessness seems for lack of a better term “ideal” or “necessary” (yikes) to the collegiate environment.  Yes, surely there are exams/homework/projects that need to be completed before their respective deadlines, but the detachment from the outside world allows these responsibilities to be met around our own time.

The only reason I even felt like commenting on the above is there is just no way you can have extra police force walking around campus without any precedent, and I don’t think (and hope) that such a scenario would ever be the case.  Dorm life and campus life in general is supposed to be liberal.  Such an imposing presence would be far too much of an interruption on the lives of the students and eventually many might even protest it.  It just doesn’t work.   From that viewpoint a major tragedy like a person on a shooting rampage could not be avoided on any campus in this country.

Then there’s the question of the 2 hour gap between shootings.  The first person was shot in one dorm around at approximately 7:15 am.  The murders in the engineering building occurred 2 hours later, just some time after the university sent out the mass e-mail notifying students of the first shootings.  No classes were cancelled immediately after the first shootings.

I know the last thing the school wants to do is cancel classes, especially so close to the end of the semester when these classes would be difficult to make up.  But I just dont see how you can have a thorough search without cutting the volume of people around campus.  ughh.  It’s difficult to come up with a solution to this problem in a such a short time span but something had to be done to contact the kids inside all dorms.  isnt that where contacting resident advisors could have provided a little more organization (not guaranteeing anything, of course)? 

Rutgers would cancel classes for the remainder of the day when it snows, citing the possibly dangerous commute from campus to campus.  Keeping in mind the majority of students use the bus system it is a smart move, but at times it seemed like the decision would likely be delayed for the sake of completing the majority of the school day.  But how would it act the same if a gunman was comfirmed to be around campus?

It’s easy to take campus life for granted because it’s so easy for the most part.  The only problems I ever tried to anticipate is buying books, grabbing something to eat between classes, parking, or silly bullshit like that.  I never once felt to be in danger around campus, and no one should. 

I dont even really know why I’m writing this.  I just became so sad at one of the accounts of Monday’s events:  some of the medical workers, while carrying the bodies to the ambulance truck, heard the ringing of the casualties’ cell phones.  Likely friends and families checking to see if they were alright.

I send my condolences to all friends and families of the victims of Virginia Tech.