Vote in this crucial election

I don't go to your school. I haven't been in college since 1971. I'm a registered Independent who's so worried about this election that I'm contacting college newspapers in swing states. I hope you will indulge me.

I was a fervent Bernie supporter. Since he lost, I looked into my options and here is what I discovered: Of the candidates, Trump is completely unacceptable. I decided against Stein because she isn't on the ballot on all 50 states. I discovered that Johnson's platform has great social policies but plans to eliminate Social Security, income taxes, financial and environmental regulations, and privatize education.

I have always had doubts about Clinton, because she has been part of the political machine for so long. Still, she is competent and has done much for women, families, and children. And Bernie got most of his issues into her platform.

I recognize change will be incremental with her, but that seems so much better to me than the sweeping, terrible change Trump would bring. To international security, the environment, choice, gay rights, police-community relations, immigration, and everybody but the 1 percent — to name a few.

I'm all for a principled vote and have concluded that the principled vote for me is to keep Trump out of the White House. It is too crucial an election for me to not vote or to help Trump by giving my vote to a third party.


I'm voting for Clinton. Please consider voting for her, too.

Judy Nogg, Boulder

Do away with Boulder's at-large system

As an CU Boulder student, I have been hearing reactions to the proposed University Hill hotel development firsthand from a number of different perspectives. Many students are up in arms over the proposal, which comes only a few short months after controversial legislation to ban beer die tables was discussed during a City Council hearing. As I have mentally entertained valid arguments both for and against the hotel project, a separate issue that threatens to undermine the fundamental axiom of commitment to justice, equality, and democracy on which our standard-bearing community rests has become abundantly clear to me: Students living on University Hill, as well as an unknown number of other underrepresented minority groups living in geographic clusters throughout Boulder, are marginalized by our archaic, discriminatory City Council election rules. It is clearly time to reform our town's electoral system.

Boulder City Council members are currently elected "at-large," which means that the nine people who receive the most votes get seats on the council, regardless of what geographic area of town they hail from. Seems fair enough, right? History has demonstrated that at-large election rules systematically discriminate against minority groups. Traditionally, we've seen racial or religious minority groups underrepresented in city councils as a result of at-large rules, especially in larger cities. During the civil rights movement, most cities reformed their rules to a district electoral system, in which council members are elected from specific geographic areas. District systems effectively account for the fact that racial and religious groups tend to live in geographic clusters. The district system has demonstrably allowed geographically clustered minority groups to elect a council member that can represent their interests most effectively. Minority groups are highly prone to adverse effects stemming from marginalization because minority groups are, under an at-large system, far less likely to elect a council member of their demographic.

The underrepresented group in this instance is the hard-working students living on University Hill. The so-called progressive Boulder City Council is in effect sidelining one of the town's largest demographics — a vulnerable group that deserves much more of a say in how it's governed than it is currently afforded. Each day, University Hill student residents are taxed, fined, policed, ticketed, or even arrested under city statutes written and enforced by a governing body that does not fairly represent our interests, all while contributing both millions of much-needed dollars and a strong part-time workforce to Boulder's economy. It is easy to dismiss students as transient, despite the immense academic, social, and economic impact we have on Boulder. It is even easier to further an agenda dedicated to increasing property values in a fragile neighborhood populated by students with extremely limited financial means by politically peripheralizing an entire class of individual. In the past, we have seen this done under the false pretense of addressing "nuisance types of things." Insofar as election reform relates to the proposed hotel, the simple fact is that a multimillion dollar development project that is posed to fundamentally alter our backyard is underway. I can think of neither a single University Hill student resident who had a substantive say in it nor a City Council member who our demographic feels can most accurately and effectively represent our interests. Perhaps most profoundly, this kind of tacit support of marginalization is of the same vein of anti-reform agenda supported by the ultra-right in discouraging racial minorities from having a political presence in the not-so-distant past. For all we know, other geographic clusters of particular demographics within Boulder, be they racial, religious, socioeconomic, or otherwise, could very well be similarly politically oppressed by our antediluvian at-large system.

I believe that everyone in Boulder, regardless of the degree to which they may agree or disagree with my sentiment, wholeheartedly accepts that we must continue to strive toward having a community with equal opportunity for representation in government and civic engagement. It is my firm belief that transitioning from an at-large system to a district system is a positive step toward provoking the widest range of effective, result-oriented political discourse. To University Hill student residents, as well as to all citizens dedicated to justice, equality, and democracy: I encourage you to join me in promoting fair representation for all Boulder community members by demanding election rule reform to a district system.

Rob Austrian, Boulder