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This Monday, an important deadline passed in Philadelphia: It was the chance to register to vote in time for the Nov. 3 elections.

You may be confused — after all, the big elections were last year. And while the November 2009 elections almost definitely won’t go down as a watershed moment in American history, the elections will fill several important seats in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, including several judicial spots.

Many are trying to make sure that students registered in Pennsylvania turn out and vote in a few weeks. We applaud their efforts — get-out-the-vote movements are wonderfully easy to get behind, and last year’s push to engage young voters was extremely successful.

We worry, however, about the engagement of these new voters — especially now that the extremely visible presidential campaigns are over. Voting, and the decision to vote, should be taken seriously. If students haven’t taken, at the very least, the initiative to educate themselves on the issues and the candidates, they shouldn’t vote simply for the sake of voting. Given the level of excitement and education on campus at this time, voter turnout likely won’t be too high come Nov. 3 — and that might be OK.

Students often face a dilemma when deciding whether or not to vote in Philadelphia or in their hometown. The issue should be simple: Vote where you feel most informed, especially in elections like these, where it takes real effort to learn before making your choice. Please remember that before voting.

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