By TNH Editorial Staff
If you were here on Tuesday, you likely heard about the cars that were driving students to the polls. You probably saw people holding signs for one party or the other. Every time you walked to the main entrance of Holloway Commons, someone probably looked your way and maybe even asked you to vote. Or they asked if you had voted yet. And if you said no, they would ask why.
It’s great that students and political activists on campus invite people to vote. Not only do they let students know how long it takes to register and that they can register New Hampshire as their domicile if they do not live in the state, but they also offer free rides to the polls. They probably couldn’t make voting any more accessible.
But there is a line that can be crossed and many people felt that it was crossed on Tuesday. Students walking all around campus heard chanting, were bombarded with questions about why they didn’t vote and felt the pressure of politics more strongly than the rest of the year.
Some students resorted to yelling back after the political activists persisted in questioning them about their voting procedures and if they needed a ride. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get people to see your side and ask them if they want to vote. The problem is that there is no respect for the answer; if the answer is “No, I don’t want to vote,” or “No, I don’t live here so I’m not going to,” students were met with “You should vote,” and “You can just file domicile.”
Joshua Miller of The Boston Globe wrote on Oct. 16, “In the 5 p.m. hour-long newscast on WMUR-TV, the state’s marquee broadcast channel, there were more than 20 ads trying to persuade voters on a recent evening to cast their ballot one way or the other in four different races.” Political ads have flooded New Hampshire. People handed out flyers at UNH and offered free posters of their candidates. Voting information cards were slid under dorm room doors.
Strangely, the type of ad matters, too. According to “The science of political advertising” by the American Psychological Association in 2012, “… colleagues found that campaign ads that make people feel fear … caused people to seek more information and remember more facts from a newscast aired afterward. Ads that sparked feelings of enthusiasm in viewers … reduced viewers’ interest in learning more about candidates’ positions…”
The point here is that political campaigns are not bad. Even if they are negative, they may have a positive effect in the end. The problem with the political campaigning on campus on Tuesday was the harassment. Remember that harassment doesn’t have to have swears or violence, but instead is defined by Dictionary.com as “to disturb persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; bother continually; pester; persecute.”
Let’s have the next Election Day be one of respect and understanding, UNH.