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September 29, 2008

Constitution Day: Freedom Leads to the Polling Booth

Heather Hart, a UAlbany sophomore from Marcellus, N.Y., was handing out pocket-sized copies of the United States Constitution in the Campus Center lobby to each student who passed by. Hart helped the UAlbany campus observe Constitution Day, designated by the federal government as Sept. 17 in recognition of the completion and signing of the United States Constitution in 1787.

"It's extremely important to let people know how relevant (the Constitution) is to their daily life," said the dual major in political science and anthropology, adding that people need to know their rights. She said the history of the Constitution is an important foundation. "It's good for people to know where their freedoms come from," said Hart. As a higher education project leader for NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group), Hart was assisting a steady stream of students who sought to register to vote in the November presidential election. The deadline to register is Oct. 10.

Robert Taylor, a freshman actuarial science major, said, "I already registered (back home in Greenwood Lake, N.Y.), but I'll register so that I can vote here (in Albany)." 

Jordan Brueckner of Monroe, N.Y., a freshman journalism major, said she stopped by because she is "interested in obtaining an absentee ballot."

Registration forms may be downloaded from the New York State Board of Elections or call 1-800-FOR-VOTE. If you would like to vote on campus for the Nov. 4 election, you should register using your campus or local address. However, if you would like to vote for local candidates in your hometown, you need to register using your permanent address and apply for an absentee ballot. Applications to register to vote in the November election must be postmarked by Friday, Oct. 10.

The University Libraries also disseminated information about the Constitution on flat screens located in high-traffic areas in all three libraries.

"In celebration of Constitution Day, the Libraries have been running an announcement showcasing what resources are available in our collections on the Constitution," said Dean of the University Libraries Frank D'Andraia. These resources include books, videos, and government publications. The University Libraries have 656 titles on or about the U.S. Constitution, including about 25 educational and documentary videos.

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